Subrat Kumar Behera
Lithograph, 19 3/4 x 12 3/4 in.
The Waswo X. Waswo Collection of Indian Printmaking, 2016.40
A major gift to the UIMA from the expatriate artist and collector Waswo X. Waswo, of nearly 291 prints by more than one hundred artists of the Indian subcontinent, will be a primary repository for teaching and research for UI professors Anita Jung (Studio Arts) and Philip Lutgendorf (Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures). Professor Lutgendorf described the gift as “an important and beautifully chosen collection that documents the history and present vitality of the art of printmaking in India. Assembled by an artist whose career has unfolded in both the United States and India, and who is in dialogue with many Indian artists, it is a unique record of both connoisseurship and collegial appreciation for the achievements of Indian printmakers during more than a century.” Some of the artists are extremely important in Indian modernism, some are well-known contemporary artists, and others are promising young artists just in the process of being recognized by the Indian art community.
The collection is significant for Professor Jung because “it captures a new medium within an old culture. Utilitarian print has been in India since the sixteenth century, but the fine art print is relatively new. There was some experimentation in the early twentieth century, but only during the early 1950s with Kanwal Krishna, who was studying viscosity printing with Stanley William Hayter in Paris, did an Indian national make a significant global contribution to print. The establishment of print programs in universities in Baroda and outside of Calcutta had the strongest impact. Artists such as Jyoti Bhatt in the 1960s and 1970s, who studied at both Baroda and Pratt Institute in New York, began to build studios and commit to working in print. Waswo’s collection is the only one I know of that documents into the twenty-first century the work by these fine Indian artist-printmakers and others.”
Commenting on his decision to choose the UIMA as the home for his collection from a list of several interested museums, Waswo said, “I believe it will be an exceptionally good home for the collection. There is enormous energy at UIMA for both Indian art and printmaking, and this collection straddles both.”