Bhupen Khakhar's depictions of middle class India merge disparate stylistic influences ranging from late Indian miniature paintings, to popular film and circus posters and even quote the flat saturated colors and domesticated suburban scenes of artist David Hockney, whom he met in 1979. His paintings are marked by a strong narrative quality and employ a bold flat use of color relying on shape over line to capture their subjects. Telling his stories through a series of intimate scenes and a meticulous attention to detail, Khakar here builds his larger works out of an amalgamation of smaller canvases commenting on the divergent yet inherently cohesive nature of society. In the 1980s, Khakhar's paintings became overtly autobiographical as he bravely began to assert his homosexuality in his art. Exploring this theme more fluidly in his watercolors, the artists allowed his grip on the brush to loosen, replacing his sfumato style with a diaphanous usage of color and whimsical dream-like compositions. The artist, who died in 2003, remains one of India's most respected painters and his works are included in numerous international collections including the British Museum, London, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the National Gallery of Modern Art, Sydney and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
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