Obituary: Krishna Reddy (1925–2018)
By Christie Wong
On August 22, prolific Indian artist and educator Krishna Reddy passed away in New York at the age of 93.
A noted printmaker and sculptor, Reddy often found inspiration in nature, drawing on organic forms for the abstract compositions that make up much of his oeuvre. His work was also guided by his keen engagement with contemporary sociopolitical issues, as reflected in his “Great Clown Series” (1975–82), which made use of the titular subject to explore misery, performativity and affectation in society. Another set of works from 1968, the intaglio print Demonstrators and two untitled bronze sculptures, responded to the mass student protests in Paris that year.
Born in Chittoor, in South East India, Reddy studied fine arts at the Kala Bhavana (Institute of Fine Arts), Visva-Bharati University, in Santiniketan, West Bengal, under the tutelage of Indian modernist Nandalal Bose, whom he credits for deepening his understanding of nature as an artistic subject. Shortly after Partition, Reddy attended the Slade School of Fine Art in London, studying under British sculptor Henry Moore and figurative painter Lucien Freud.
In 1953, Reddy received a scholarship to study sculpture under Russian-born artist Ossip Zadkine in Paris. It was here that he met British painter and printmaker Stanley William Hayter, who encouraged him to experiment with printmaking—an art form for which the Indian artist would become renowned. By 1965, Reddy became associate director of Hayter’s legendary studio Atelier 17, where he developed an innovative technique of viscosity printing, allowing multiple colors to be printed simultaneously.
Reddy immigrated to New York in 1976, where he established Color Print Atelier, and later the printmaking department of New York University. As an educator, he published Intaglio Simultaneous Color Printmaking: Significance of Materials and Processes in 1988, and was designated NYU’s Professor Emeritus of Art and Art Education in 2002.
Reddy received the Padma Shri award in his native India and was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by The Society of American Graphic Artists in 2005. His works are in a number of permanent collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and the British Museum, London.
Christie Wong is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.
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