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Remembering John Fernandes the Master of Realism-Impressionism

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The Late John is considered to be one of the finest painters to come out of India, whose stature within students and scholars of representational art is unequaled, and rightfully so.

His works are indeed rare, and remarkable further that those that have been fortunate enough to acquire them over the years, do not easily part with the works that were acquired by some of the country’s finest art collectors.

It is, in fact, a rarity to even have the privilege to gaze eye upon a John Fernandes artwork, such has been the exclusivity by which his works have been shown to the public.

John Fernandes, was an artist par excellence, is considered by many to be one of the finest realist Indian painters. Learned under the tutelage of the Late KB Kulkarni from Belagavi, he worked as a full-time artist for more than 25 years.

John is one of the famous Indian oil painting artists who have hands in almost all medium-pencil, charcoal, watercolors, etc. For 9 years he studied art in Chitra Mandir under the guidance of his teacher Shri K B Kulkarni. He owned an exceptional grasp of lines, contours, light and shadow, forms and tones and tints.

His journey as an artist started from Belagavi when he was brought to Shri. K. B. Kulkarni’s art classes by his elder brother. John’s inborn talent made him a quick student, needing only subtle suggestions from his teacher

John Fernandes
John Fernandes

His grasp of line, form and color tones was something exceptional. He learned drawing from nature, from memory, and from live models, using the medium of pencils, charcoal, crayons, watercolors, and oils with equal ease. John’s paintings encapsulate with great skill, the sensual female form, rendered with a rare delicacy and sensitivity. His figurative paintings left one enthralled by the provocative and yet sensually innocent look of his women. Besides figurative studies, he also painted landscapes and still life with equal compositional and tonal skills. Be it watercolors or oils, John’s disciplined and confident handling of his subjects, left the definitive stamp of a master artist.

Pencil drawings were his forte, a love which he said – “He has inherited from his Sir K. B. Kulkarni”. Be it watercolors or oils, John’s disciplined and confident handling of his subjects, leave a definite stamp, which says, “This is John!”

The paintings of women enthralled the audience by the provocative appeal and yet reveal the innocence of the women in his figurative paintings. John owned a remarkable discipline and confidence in handling his subjects and mediums which revealed his signature style.

John FernandesJohn Fernandesjohn 3John FernandesThe caressing drapery, its translucence, the movement of the body, the definite and defining strokes of light, the control of mass and light and shade, the depth, are what make a John Fernandes painting stand out.

His wife Agnes, who organizes his exhibition, said, “His passion for painting was so great that he wouldn’t eat, drink or sleep. I see him in his paintings, I don’t feel he has gone at all.”

John during his last days had asked his wife to set up an Art gallery in Belagavi his home town so that the local talent can be nurtured better and he said this is what I can give back to the place where I learned to move the brushes.

In fact, John wanted to come back to Belagavi and stay here at his home and enjoy painting but destiny had other things for him.

Now his Wife is fulfilling his dream of the art gallery at his bungalow in Sangameshwar Nagar. A full-fledged art gallery has been created and local artists can work there and also exhibit their artworks.

The first exhibition will be held at the Late John Fernandes Gallery at Plot No.1 & 2 Sangameshwar Nagar 10th Cross, Belagavi from October 13 to 20, 10 AM to 6 PM.

Noted artist from Ichalkaranji Dilip Dudhane will exhibit his paintings. Dilip has won many accolades to his name and also restored many paintings of Late John Fernandes.

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