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The story of an art critic’s life in his images

mumbai Updated: Feb 15, 2010 01:56 IST
Bhairavi Jhaveri

When Richard Bartholomew, a renowned art critic, writer and painter of the 1950s died in 1985, his son Pablo Bartholomew, an award-winning photo journalist, decided to raid his father’s photographic archives.

“It took me a year to go through the collection, and I even displayed a few of his street work at the Jehangir the following year,” he says.

Richard loved photography, and Pablo even learnt his first lessons in the art at home, but Richard never showcased any of his photographic work publicly. “In 2006, I revisited some of my teenage work, which I had tucked away for 25 years and I exhibited those photographs in France. That’s when I decided to put together a complete exhibition spanning most of my father’s work, shot in the 50s, 60s and 70s, which nobody had seen,” says Pablo.

The show is titled A Critic’s Eye and has travelled to Sepia Art Gallery in 2008, Photoink, Delhi in 2009 and now comes to Mumbai.

A series of 40 black-and-white images are displayed at Chatterjee & Lal, Colaba, that transcend from life at home with his wife Rati and two sons Robin and Pablo to the streets of Delhi and into the homes of his closest artist friends, names that include art greats M.F. Husain, Jehangir Sabawalla, Ram Kumar, Biren De, F.N. Souza, Jeram Patel, among others.

Richard’s camera catches them in places and situations that nobody except a close friend would have access to like their studios at home, sitting shirtless maybe, in front of their canvases, pondering.

“The show has great historic value for the art aficionados. Most have seen the work of the artists, but very few would have had a chance to see what the artists look like themselves. These pictures help you understand the artist better,” says Pablo.

Pablo has been keen on putting together a show that displays both his teenage work as well his father’s photographs in one space. And coming August, a gallery in Kolkata will exhibit the father-son collections.

A Critic’s Eye is on display till March 6 at Chatterjee & Lal, 01/18, Kamal Mansion, 1st floor, Arthur Bunder Road, Colaba. A book titled A Critic’s Eye, priced at Rs 1,500 was also released