Breaking Free: A Critic’s Influence on India’s Progressive Painters
Gayatri Rangachari Shah
THE CATALYST: RUDOLF VON LEYDEN AND INDIA’S ARTISTIC AWAKENING by By Reema Desai Gehi. Foreword by Krishen Khanna Speaking Tiger Books, 2024, 216 pp., INR 799.00
July 2024, volume 48, No 7

Rudolph von Leyden was one of the most significant figures in the shaping of independent India’s modern art movement, yet today little is known about the man or his life. From his early years as a German Jewish refugee who fled Europe’s growing fascism and anti-Semitism in the 1930s for the safer shores of British India, to becoming firmly entrenched in the nascent cultural and artistic scene of a vibrant Bombay (as Mumbai was then known), Rudy, as he was affectionately called, was pivotal in encouraging and supporting a raft of young artists who went on to becoming superstars of the modern Indian art scene.

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