Abanindranath remembered how the spirit of Swadeshi arrived at the Jorasanko house like a powerful gust of wind, sweeping them all along in its path. "As I felt the tug of the wind", he recalled, "I tore free from the ropes and flung myself in; I set the boat afloat in the course of the current. Getting rid of western art, I now took up Indian art."
The wave had brought with it a frenetic burst of activities, spearheaded by Rabindranath- the setting up of a 'Swadeshi Bhandar' to manufacture Swadeshi cosmetics, soaps and even shoes; the pouring in of funds from babus and wage labourers into the National Trust; the proliferation of village welfare and plague relief societies; the switch to Bengali language and to the dhoti and chadar as the chosen dress of delegates at the Provincial Congress Conference at Natore; the spinning of handloom by the women of the household; the closing of kitchens to mark the black day of the partition of Bengal; ... While he participated in many of these ventures often with bemused trepidation, Abanindranath stepped aside to invest the full force of Swadeshi in his paintings.
By about 1900, Abanindranath seemed to have decisively turned his back on the practice of life study, outdoor sketches, oil painting and realistic mythological compositions of the 'Ravi Varma' kind, to gradually proceed towards the mastery of what he would connote as his "Indian-Style" of painting.1
Thus began the movement of indigenous modernism !
Attr. To ABANINDRANATH TAGORE (1871 - 1951)
Untitled (Allegorical Portrait)
Watercolour on Cloth
12 x 7 in.
INR 10,00,000 - 15,00,000
Attribution to Abanindranath Tagore is based on an original letter from Rathindranath to Mira-Nirmal Chatterjee mentioning this and other art works.
ABANINDRANATH TAGORE (1871 - 1951)
Uma the Great Mother Daughter of the Mountain
Signed in Bengali (lower right)
Watercolour on paper laid on card
4½ x 3½ in.
INR 12,00,000 - 15,00,000
Inscribed 'Uma The great mother Daughter of the Mountain By Abanindranath Tagore 5. Dwarkanath Tagore's [...] Calcutta' and further inscribed in Bengali (on the reverse)
1. Abanindranath, Known And Unknown - The Artist versus the Art of His Times - Tapati Guha-Thakurta