Born in Vadodara, Gujarat, SadanandjiBakre was one of the founder members of the Progressive Artists’ Group in Bombay. The group was geared towards cultivating a contemporary language in art that related to the significance of its time. Arriving in Mumbai in 1929, he obtained a diploma in modelling and stone carving from Sir J. J. School of Art. Like some of his contemporaries, Bakre’s talent as a sculptor and painter were equally recognised. Rudi von Leyden introduced him to the modernist movements in America and Europe and provided him with criticism, acting as a catalyst. Bakre and F. N. Souza founded the Progressive Artists’ Group in 1947, subsequently expanded upon by acknowledged masters like S. H. Raza, H. A. Gade and M. F. Husain. Dissatisfied with the contemporary art scene in the Sixties, Bakre eft for London to pursue his artistic interests.
Bakrepotentialised the human form by transforming it into a novel puzzle with distortion, fragmentation and partial elimination. His canvases are prominently executed in a sculptural manner depicting geometrical grids and abstracted human forms in a two-dimensional pattern. The bold, bright and vivid colours are used to highlight the contrast of straight and curved lines, creating a sculptural effect. The artist’s preoccupation with abstraction was inspired by Paul Klee’s lyricism and Picasso’s de-structuring of form.
As a student, Bakre was a much feted and recognised artist: he received a scholarship during his art study at the Sir J. J. School of art, won the first prize for sculpture from Bombay Art Society in 1942 and the Lord Harding Scholarship in 1944.