Sadanand Bakre, pioneer of modern art in India, dead

Artist and sculptor Sadanand K Bakre, the founder of Bombay Progressive Artists' Group and the pioneer of modern art in India, died of a heart attack in Murud-Harnai in Ratnagiri district on Tuesday night. He was 87. Bakre was on his way to a hospital on an autorickshaw when he suffered a heart attack and was pronounced dead before admission.

Bakre was one of India's famous exports to the world of sculptures and independent imagery. The Times, London, in 1961 had called Bakre a sensitive man who "does not go wrong with colour... strong, pure tones mix boldly and easily, and there is warmth in every picture."

It was Bakre and late artist F N Souza who decided to take the contemporary art movement in India forward by forming the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group in 1947, which was later joined by S H Raza, K H Ara, H A Gade, and M F Husain.

A book on Bakre released by the Son-et-Lumiere Art Gallery describes the association as a relationship "forged ahead fearlessly with total freedom from the restrictions of set styles and traditions of realism". The last will of Bakre has said he wanted a burial, as opposed to the traditional Hindu custom of cremation.

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