Art On My Walls

India has a thriving contemporary art scene and some of the big names such as M F Hussein and Tyeb Mehta have fetched huge sums in auctions worldwide. Since I cannot afford even the serigraphs of these master painters, I shall introduce you to some comparatively lesser known artists, whose works hang on my walls.

The seed for my modest art collection was sown nearly two decades ago when I spotted this vibrant 11″ x 8″ gouache at an exhibition by an (then) unknown artist called Vaikuntam. The contorted, swarthy ‘Telengana’ woman was his trademark and I fell in love with her and would have happily bought the entire lot if only I had the means. R wasn’t convinced of course and never believed in art as investment. Big mistake. Vaikuntam is a respected senior artist now, and our princely (at the time) outlay of Rs.1000 (approx US$20) has multiplied 200 times!!

This 30″ x 24″ Indian ink and charcoal work is by a Bengali artist called Sunil Das who is better known for his bulls. Again we fell for the startled expression on this handsome creature’s face and took the plunge.

Another paper work – an 8″ x 6″ ink and water colour – by yet another senior South Indian artist named Laxma Goud. I love that goat in the foreground and the details on the lady’s blouse. (The shadow on the left is a reflection of the wall opp.)

I bought this 4′ x 2′ oil on canvas by a young Bengali artist Mrutyunjay Mondal, online and love its depiction of the Bhuddha and the attainment of Nirvana. It takes pride of place above my purple sofas (yes purple! The exact same shade as in the bottom corner of the painting :-)) in my living room and complements the Buddha heads I have around the house.

This 18″ x 12″ water colour is titled ” Remembrance of a forgotten past” and shows utensils that were in use in our childhood homes! The Maharashtrian artist – Gopal Adivrekar – is the chairman of the Bombay Art Society, and somehow did not appreciate as much as the others, but I am particularly fond of this piece.

This rather colourful 4′ x 2′ oil on canvas by a very senior Bengali artist, Paritosh Sen is the only one we bought purely as investment (!) and does not reflect my personal aesthetic at all.

Another favourite – a 60″ x 20″ oil on canvas titled “Good news” by a young Maharashtrian artist named Sanjay Sable. He specialises in heads and I have been eyeing his new Bhuddha series

A subject we all love. K R Santhanakrishnan, a local artist, paints doors. I bought these three 12″ x 12″ canvases when he was still undiscovered for a total of Rs 5000 (US$100) in 2004! He is quite sought after these days. He frames his new works in  interesting antique looking window frames, some with one shutter still attached.

And finally, the most valuable piece in my collection, one of two that hang over my desk……..

……An ambulance drawn and coloured by my older grandson when he was barely 4 years old. The zebra figure on the left is a sticker embellishment. And why is the vehicle levitating?

“Can’t you see the potholes on the road?”

A sad commentary by a toddler on the infrastructure of a country whose art is impeccable.

PS: Apologies for the wonky perspective of the paper works. I had to shoot at an angle to avoid my reflection in the glass and then crop the imags. Some reflection still managed to creep in .

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Madhu is an Interior designer turned travel blogger on a long sabbatical to explore the world. When not crafting stories on The Urge To Wander, she's probably Tweeting @theurgetowander or sharing special moments on

91 thoughts on “Art On My Walls

  1. What a lovely collection…my dad loved to paint for solace (he was obsessed with the Christian Madonna and Child) and I have a few of his renditions, some family textile heirlooms from Hungary and, similar to you, my most prized artwork is from my son, pieces he created when he was very young as well as drawings and ceramics he created in his art classes at school. Right now all packed away as I’m still settling into a new apartment…but you’ve given me inspiration for their placement;o)

    1. Sounds like a treasure trove Sahbina! Would love to see photos when you are fully settled in. I did think of including shots of the placement of my paintings around the house, but it made my post appear too bulky. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  2. Hey Madhu,
    Lovely pieces of art.
    Art is something I really never understood as a younger man. Now I can truly appreciate it. I have a good friend of mine who is an artist if you have a second I hope you can check her work out, it is quite good.

      1. Hey Madhu
        I have known Erin my entire life, she is pretty special when it comes to painting
        I will let her know your thoughts

  3. Oh, you have taste, Madhu, and you have reminded me how easy it is to become stuck in one’s own national ‘groove’. These are real eye openers for me: and I shall go away to do some exploring now! Thank you!

  4. I love your art, and that last one by your grandson is the most precious of all. I still have some of my daughters’ art when they were little.

    My favorite piece of art was done by a local artist – of a man on a deck with his two grandkids as they admire the koi fish. It makes me smile every time I see it.

    Thanks for sharing your art.

    1. Thanks Judy. You are right, the true value of art is not in its price but in the enjoyment we derive from it 🙂

  5. Nice and varied collection. The angry horse and the blue buddha I like best, but the collection is a good one. You have a lot to enjoy, Madhu.

  6. Madhu you sure have some lovely art! I especially like the blue purple head and of course the picture from your grandson is priceless. I love collecting small paintings from my travels. Usually they aren’t too fancy but the memory is worth the world. Thanks for sharing!

  7. You certainly have a good eye, and I like most. keep your grandson it will be valuable one day. lovely and colourful post. 😉

  8. My favourite is the LAST one – very child-like and simple! Enjoyed ALL of these artworks, but a FAVE is Vaikuntam’s (The 1st one) because of the vibrant colors, the contour lines, the illustrative characteristics, and the hidden images and messages mixed within. Brilliant!

    1. Thank you Zoe. When I bought the Vaikuntam I had to contend with sarcastic remarks from my friends and sisters like “What on earth IS she doing?” 🙂

  9. Thank you Madhu – I’m not into art as books on ‘arts’ tend to speak over my head. But your write up was interesting – perhaps because it is so personal.

  10. The ambulance is probably speeding too. That is why it flies so high off the road on pot holes! Genius! And you have a lovely collection of art. Really enjoyed seeing it. Very nice to look at.

    1. Thanks Angelia.
      The lines actually do suggest speed and movement! We used to love grilling him about his art and he would respond with exasperation. The other one above my desk is a painting of a red roofed house with HO HO HO flowing out of the chimney. He gave it to me saying it was a painting of Santa Claus. “Where is Santa sweetie?” Inside the chimney of course 😀 Symbolism at that age???
      Unfortunately he is more into sports than art these days.

  11. Thanks for opening your home to us and sharing your artwork. All of it is very striking. I am particularly drawn to the Bengali artist Mrutyunjay Mondal’s Buddha depiction.

  12. though the ambulance hits our hearts: the 9x ART before is an adorable collection! My favorites: the doors of Santhanakrishnan – and top ranking: Mrutyunjay Mondal – blue Buddha – similar to Marc Chagall …

    1. Thanks Frizztext. I love the Mrityunjay Mondal too and that is why he has been accorded pride of place 🙂

  13. What beautiful works of art! I am envious!! And I love purple, so I am sure I would love your sofas. And if I were you, I would hang on to that painting by your grandson…in a few years….who knows!!

    1. You never know! But highly unlikely looking at his current interests in sport and music 🙂 Thanks Angeline.

  14. What a fabulous collection, Madhu – I like your style! The Vaikuntam is gorgeous – the green parrot really caught my eye – but my absolute favourite is that stunning ink & charcoal of the horse, just delightful!

    1. Thanks Ailsa. My daughter owns two tiny bulls by the same artist filled with red ink that are utterly gorgeous!

  15. How lucky you are to have such a fabulous collection! As far as the increase in value goes, you wouldn’t want to part with them anyway would you? I absolutely love the blue Buddha and your grandsons, that goes without saying!

  16. A very interesting, and wonderful collection. I would enjoy looking at almost any of those on my own walls. Getting in when the artists were “unknowns” is always a plus. 😀

    1. Thanks Jeff. I used to trawl galleries in the early 90’s. It is a lot more commercial these days and you need more patience to find good value.

  17. Thank your for the grand tour, Madhu! It’s a treat to see these valuable art works. Your most valuable collection made me smile! My grandson who is also four years old is crazy about automobiles.

  18. Beautiful Art works. My favorite was the ambulance by your grandson. It reminds us how once we were kids with huge dreams, that everyday our children dreams in a similar magical grandeur. May we continue to pursue the things that inspires us…always.

    1. Only at that age it keeps changing! He has already moved from mechanic (!) to astronaut, to chef, to professional soccer player 🙂 Will be interesting to see what he finally chooses to be. Thanks island Traveler

  19. Madhu what a stunning collection you have…beautiful every painting a poetry..
    but yes agree with you the last one is pricessless ..warmth, memories,giggles and colours all in one
    loved it 🙂

    1. Thank you Soma. I have a penchant for Bengali artists as you can see! Yes that last one is precious, I have a small collection of similar pieces, specially made for me 🙂

  20. Madhu, a fantastic art collection by famous artists. I hope a ‘Purple’ challenge comes along and you’ll post the purple sofa 🙂

    1. Thanks Shaantz 🙂 I even have a purple wall in my kitchen!! But the rest of my house is all stark and white and grey.

  21. I just love Mrutyanjay’s painting! It tells a story. And the one below by Gopal I like because it reminds me of cooking and the kitchen 🙂

    1. Yes those copper utensils really made me nostalgic, and it hangs in my dining room next to a copper vase. My favourite too. Thanks Meenakshi, good to see you here 🙂

  22. I’d noticed the astronomical prices some artists were achieving, even back in the mid ’90s when I used to visit Chennai when my SL visa ran out! Thank you so much for walking us around your walls and showing us some of the rising artists you’ve found. Although I’m mad about the motifs and colours in Mrutyunjay Mondal’s Buddha (what a wonderful place that must be to sit, on a purple sofa beneath that joyous picture), it’s the Sanjay Sable that really grabbed me. I hope you can get hold of one of his new Buddha paintings. What a treat this has been:)

  23. Beautiful (and diverse!) collection, Madhu! You have created lovely walls indeed! I’m sure all of the artists (including your grandson) are thrilled to be included 🙂

  24. You have some gorgeous pieces on your walls and I particularly love the first three… All are quite lovely. 😉

  25. Trolling through your archives. Absolutely love the telengana woman and the buddaha… but the “levitating” ambulance is my favourite 🙂

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