Formed in 1962 when twelve Indian artists gathered in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, Group 1890 was a short-lived collective that derived its name from the house number of Jyoti Bhatt and Jayant Pandya, where its manifesto was drafted. The objective of the Group’s art, according to their manifesto, was to envisage a new world of experience with greater freedom, challenging the notion of art needing to represent or challenge reality. Its twelve member artists include J Swaminathan, Jeram Patel, Ambadas, Himmat Shah, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Jyoti Bhatt, Rajesh Mehra, Balkrishna Patel, Raghav Kaneria, M Reddappa Naidu, Eric Bowen and SG Nikam.
The Group held its first and only exhibition — featuring over 200 artworks — at Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi, in October 1963. It was inaugurated by then-Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Octavio Paz, a Surrealist poet who was then Mexican Ambassador to India, wrote the introduction to the exhibition. The exhibition received critical acclaim, but none of the works that comprised it were sold during its ten-day run. Soon after the exhibition, the collective disbanded, with many of its members continuing to have individual careers thereafter.
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