Contemporary art in India has its basis in the modernist works of the Progressive Artists Group, formed in 1947 (the same year that India gained its independence) as a reaction to the sentimentality and academic realism promoted by British-established art schools. This exhibition presents paintings, drawings, and prints by founding members of that group and other modernists, collected by Margot Lurie Zimmerman (Cornell Class of 1956) and Paul Zimmerman. The Zimmermans formed their collection while serving in the Peace Corps in Bangalore in the 1960s. Possessing a keen interest in modern art and an eagerness to learn about new art in India, they sought out galleries and exhibitions wherever they traveled, sometimes purchasing directly from the artists. The strength of the Zimmerman collection is in works from the 1950s and 1960s, a time of fervent experimentation as artists sought new modes of self-expression.
After leaving India, the Zimmermans lived in East Africa and their collecting shifted focus to works by artists from there. In the last decade, however, they rekindled their interest in Indian art and added recent works to their collection, many by younger artists. We are grateful to the Zimmermans for sharing their collection with our visitors.
Chief Curator and Curator of Asian Art