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Travelling across Europe, Christian hostels and cathedrals


Teachers and students at the Slade School of Art
KG Subramanyan Artist
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They had at that time, I think one Professor Gerrard or somebody, and the others who were there were Reg Butler and there was Mc... McWilliams, I think. Each one thought about sculpture in a different way, sort of thing. So, many students, especially those who went from India, were rather confused about whom to follow, and some students were denied their sort of certificate because Gerard didn’t agree with what the other people did. I heard about that, but then I was a drifter, so there was no point. I mean I was not sort of affected by all this, but I have heard from others also in the painting department. Of course, I haven’t seen too much. At that time Coldstream used to have a sort of a general parliament of discussion, I think once or twice in the term, when he commented on various works displayed in the exhibition. He used to think highly of certain people whose names I don’t hear about anymore. There was firstly a youngster whose name I have seen in some catalogue or the other who used to do a kind of painting post-Cezanne. I forget his name. Well, he didn’t make a mark, but there were others who have later been quite well known, I know. So, that only convinced me that it is not easy to make up your mind about anybody, it depends upon how. But the kind of conversation I had with other people, the person who was supposed to be sort of seeing what I did, was Townsend, William Townsend. He was an absolute gentleman. I mean, it was easy to talk to him, and then of course he put you at ease. He even suggested when I was coming here saying why don’t you do another year, I can sort of write, but then I told him look, if I spend another year in Europe I would rather want to travel around rather than stay in a school like this. So if that is possible, will British Council underwrite the expense? I don’t think so, and it didn’t happen, but he was very nice. I think at that time, I remember his brother was the high commissioner in Russia or somewhere.



He had another brother who was editor of Art Monthly, later, Peter Townsend.

Peter Townsend, yes. I remember that.

He came to India actually.

Yes. I mean these contacts with various people was very amicable and very profitable too. I came to see that we always don’t see eye-to-eye on every matter, so there is a certain kind of a cultural thing, but then there were large things which we agreed upon, things of that kind. In those days I was older than most students there but I didn’t look very old. In fact, they all thought that I was their own age group.

KG Subramanyan (1924-2016) was an Indian artist. A graduate of the renowned art college of Kala Bhavana in Santiniketan, Subramanyan was both a theoretician and an art historian whose writings formed the basis for the study of contemporary Indian art. His own work, which broke down the barrier between artist and artisan, was executed in a wide range of media and drew upon myth and tradition for its inspiration.

Listeners: Timothy Hyman

Timothy Hyman is a graduate of Slade School of Fine Art, London, in which he has also taught. In 1980 and 1982, he was Visiting Professor in Baroda, India. Timothy Hyman has curated many significant art exhibitions and has published articles and monographs on both European and Indian artists.

Duration: 3 minutes, 56 seconds

Date story recorded: 2008

Date story went live: 10 September 2010