Born in Portuguese Goa in 1870, Antonio Xavier Trindade had a Roman Catholic upbringing. Moving first to Sawantwadi and then to Bombay as a teenager, he studied art at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Bombay alongside artists like M.V. Dhurandar, and later taught at the same institution as one of its first Indian faculty members.
Winning several awards for his work, including the Bombay Art Society’s Gold Medal in 1920, Trindade “[…] excelled in the newly accepted school of painting known as Illusionistic Realism, introduced by British artists, became famous as a portrait painter in a short span of time. Out of the outstanding portrait painters such as Pestonji Bomanji, Pithawala, Mueller, Agaskar, Taskar and Haldankar, Trindade was the one with a distinctive classical approach. His work show[ed] perceptiveness, which imparted depth to his portraiture. The purity of tones and freshness of light were reminiscent of the Spanish painters Goya and Velazquez. An artist of exceptional talent, he attempted to project his personal vision in the portraits he painted. Art critics referred to him as the Rembrandt of the East in their reviews.” (B Sadwelkar, ‘Rediscovering an Old Master: A.X. Trindade’, Mohile Parikh Centre website, accessed July 2015)
Following his retirement as superintendent of the Reay Workshop at the J.J. School of Art in 1929, Trindade moved to the Bombay suburb of Mahim, where he built and lived in the bungalow, ‘Casa Bianca’, till his death in 1935. Located close to the Mahim Creek, the artist spent many of his last years painting the sea and landscapes near his home. This painting from 1930 is one of Trindade’s earlier Mahim scenes, depicting a busy market on the main road with a mosque in the background.
Today, most of Trindade’s work is housed in the permanent collection of the A.X. Trindade Museum at the Fundacao Oriente in his native Goa. Donated by the artist’s family, this body of work was also exhibited at the Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, in the seminal 1996 show, Antonio Xavier Trindade: An Indian Painter from Portuguese Goa.