Through his affiliation with the Progressive Artist's Group, Ara was introduced to several art critics of the time. "It was Rudi von Leyden, however, who not only detected the earliest signs of talent in the young artist, but was also to become his staunchest supporter." (Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, New Delhi, 2001, p. 131) Jobless and penniless, Ara was given a small stipend by Leyden and encouraged to focus solely on his craft. It was due to Leyden's encouragement and generosity that Ara's career blossomed. "...many of his paintings have kindled that first small flame of recognition of what art really is and have replaced in many Indian homes for the first time, the lithographed calendar picture with an original work of art." Rudi von Leyden, Ara, New Delhi, 1965 cited in Yashodhara Dalmia, The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives, New Delhi, 2001, p. 141.
After experimenting with watercolours and still life paintings, Ara turned to portraits and nudes, often using oil paints. Abandoning the brash, jagged strokes used to execute his still life paintings, Ara began to paint with careful, studied precision and the even distribution of colour. At the time, flagrant nudity was a new occurrence in the artistic milieu; paintings were often partly concealed when displayed to the public, to observe a modicum of propriety. The lower half of this painting was obscured and unvarnished when it was exhibited at the International Contemporary Art exhibition in New Delhi.
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