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How Indian-born artist Krishna Reddy left an indelible mark on printmaking worldwide

An exhibition in Kolkata showcases works by Reddy that are ‘timeless and relevant’.

In 1978, N Krishna Reddy took his daughter to the circus in New York and got mesmerised by the clowns himself. So much so that over the next two decades, clowns would appear regularly in the work of the Indian-born American printmaker – most notably in The Great Clown series, which is on show in an exhibition in Kolkata.

Reddy, who died last year aged 93, left an indelible mark on printmaking worldwide. He worked at Stanley William Hayter’s iconic Atelier 17 printmaking studio in Paris for over two decades, before moving to New York in 1976. It was at Atelier 17 that he, along with Hayter, discovered the simultaneous colour printing method – arguably Reddy’s biggest contribution to the art world.

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There is a kind of cause and effect symmetry to the juxtaposition of plates and prints (they are displayed facing each other on opposite walls of the gallery) that builds interest in the intermediate transformative process of intaglio simultaneous colour printing. Also on display are the artist’s drawings – all studies of the human form. Together, they give a glimpse into the printmaker’s process.

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