Hailing from Maharashtra, H. A. Gade joined the Progressive Artists’ Group in 1948. In 1950, he completed his Masters in Art from the Nagpur School of Art. In 1955-56, he became a member of Lalit Kala Akademi’s Artists Delegation and, in 1958, a founder member of the Bombay Artists Group, Bombay. In the corpus of Indian art, Gade stands distinct as a painter of landscapes of un-peopled houses. While he evolved his language in paint, he did not completely avoid nature but did not overrate its role either. He realised the limitations of rendering the visible world through visual exactitude, which appeared to testify merely to the acquired skills of naturalism, which is why he chose abstraction.
Identified as a painter of the vistas of towns with unplanned, rambling structures, Gade’s urbanscapes are remarkable for their flat, chromatic intensity. The simple geometry of shapes represents a distant view of a densely built area in the city, with the dark heaving lines holding the structure of elemental shapes together in a nocturnal illumination. In his works, the painterly qualities are emphasised more than the physical site. The artist’s attempt is to transform the subject into a painting and not vice versa. Gade’s abstract works draw on the principles of balance and structure. He gives paint a primacy in the composition through density and texture. One of the most gifted painters of modern Indian art, Gade’s oeuvre covered still-lifes, nude portraits and landscapes, apart from his celebrated abstract works.