Founded in 1943, the '43' Group in Sri Lanka presaged the Bombay Progressives by four years. Consisting of 10 artists: Geoff Beling, George Claessen, Aubrey Collette, Justin Daraniyagala, Richard Gabriel George Keyt, L.T.P. Manjusri, Ivan Peries, Harry Pieris, and Lionel Wendt, the group created and revolutionized artistic expression by marrying modern International painting styles with unique Sri Lankan themes. George Claessen left Sri Lanka in 1947, living for two years in Australia before settling in Britain in 1949. The development of his style is therefore based wholly on European idiom, with his paintings maturing in a series of extraordinary abstract works perfected during the last decade of his life.
Justin Daraniyagala, one of the least prolific members of the '43 Group, received his artistic training at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, and Acada©mie Julian, Paris. His painting style eschewed naturalism through the distortion of his figures and thickly textured application of paint. The artist is frequently lauded as one of Asia's greatest Expressionist painters.