The Modernist Art Movement from India

This timeline presents significant events in modern Indian art and in modern Indian history from the mid 19th century through the late 1990s. Visitors can explore highlighted dates and see how historical- political, social and economic- events intersect and diverge from developments in modernist art. As you scroll through the timeline at the bottom of the screen, you will see a snapshot of the selected period. Click on the dialogue boxes to learn more about each event.

For more information about this exhibition please visit the exhibition website at;xNLx;;xNLx;;xNLx;;xNLx;Content and design of this timeline developed by Beth Citron, Tara Kuruvilla, Andrew Buttermilch, Jonathan Kuhr, and Esther Mares.;xNLx;;xNLx;Left:;xNLx;;xNLx;Accordance Shanti Dave India; 1963 Oil on canvas. Shelley and Donald Rubin Private Collection.

Partition of Bengal

Lord Curzon divides the Bengal province, purportedly for political efficiency; this controversial partition exacerbated Hindu-Muslim animosity.

Founding of the Progressive Artists Group

The Progressive Artists Group was founded in Bombay just after Independence and comprised six diverse, radical artists working to establish new cultural identities and a modernist art culture in India. The group worked in opposition to the colonial, academic standard being imposed upon Indian art academies as well as the revivalist art movement established by the Bengal School.

The Great Rebellion

Termed the Sepoy Revolts/ Mutiny of 1857 by the British, and the First War of Independence by Indian historians, this uprising was the first major rebellion against the British crown.

Government of India Act

Following the Revolt of 1857, this act began the liquidation of the East India Company and the transference of power to the British crown.

Formation of the Indian National Congress

An emerging collective nationalism leads to the formation of the Indian National Congress (most often called Congress). It became a dominant political party, which would head the Independence movement, and later be led by the Nehru-Gandhi family.

Swadeshi ("Of Our Land") Movement

The anti-colonial fervor of Swadeshi was particularly strong in the eastern province of Bengal. Swadeshi strove to remove the British Empire from power and stimulate the Indian economy through the boycott of British products and the revival of domestic goods and production techniques. The movement was an integral part of swaraj, a self-rule initiative promulgated by Gandhi.

Foundation of the All-India Muslim League

Initially created to secure the interests of the Muslim diaspora in British India, the Muslim League eventually developed into the driving force behind the creation of Pakistan as an independent Muslim state.

Partition of Bengal revoked

Due to a high level of political unrest, as well as the increasing strength of the Swadeshi movement, the Partition of Bengal was revoked in 1911.

Lahore Resolution

A formal political statement adopted by the Muslim League that called for greater Muslim autonomy in British India. This was largely interpreted as a demand for a separate state, which would become Pakistan.

Non-Cooperation Movement Launched

Led by Mahatma Gandhi, the preeminent political and ideological leader of India, the movement aimed to resist British occupation of India through non-violent means and the boycott of British goods.

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