K. H. Ara
 
The son of a car-driver, Krishnaji Howlaji Ara was born in 1913, in Bolarum (near Hyderabad), Andhra Pradesh.

An entirely self-taught artist, Ara's work was rooted in the joy of creativity, focusing on nudes, still life and human figure studies. He was the first contemporary Indian painter to methodically use the female nude as a subject, staying within the limits of naturalism.

Some influences of Cezanne and Matisse were evident in his still lives of '40s and '50s, and though fluent with the formal ways of Modernism, Ara also successfully drew inspiration from the classics. 

His favoured media initially were watercolours and gouaches, which would at times resemble oils in the impasto effect. Later he also worked successfully in oils, where occasionally as in “Woman with Flowers”, the relatively thin pigmentation would remind of his previous preference for the watercolour. 

With the true insight of a self-taught artist he said: "Expression for me does not reside in passions glowing on a human face... Composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the diverse elements at the painter's command to express his feelings" often mentioning an urgency for "the honest expression of form".