Most of the juxtapositions pair a modern, Western artist with an Indian painter. But an ancient, Chinese work is also considered, to show that Indian painters were drawn to elements throughout history and the world.
There is a juxtaposition between Tyeb Mehta, whose colorful canvases are often divided by diagonal lines, and Barnett Newman, whose paintings usually featured linear divisions.
Another pairing shows the influence of New England’s Andrew Wyeth on Bikash Bhattacharjee, who like many Indian artists focused on the human figure, Bean said.
As in Wyeth’s work, Bhattacharjee’s image of a woman riding in a rickshaw with a large gas canister is realistic, but touched with mystery.
“We hope that by emphasizing these cosmopolitan dialogues, we’re also helping people who are just getting to know the art of India figure out how to connect to it,” Bean said, “how to make this art part of the art worlds that they bring in their heads to look at the exhibition.”
If you go What: "Midnight to the Boom: Painting in India After Independence" When: Feb. 2 through April 21, Tuesday through Sunday and holiday Mondays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Where: Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem Admission: Adults $15, seniors $13, students $11. Members, youths 16 and under, and residents of Salem, free. More information: 866-745-1876 or www.pem.org