Within the sphere of art historical exploration, the oeuvre of Surendranath Ganguly emerges as a subject of intriguing contemplation. A notable practitioner born in 1885, Ganguly's artistic journey found its genesis at the Government School of Art Calcutta, under the guidance of luminaries such as EB Havell and the visionary Abanindranath Tagore. Aligned with the artistic philosophy of Tagore, Ganguly, alongside Nandalal Bose, played an instrumental role in the revival of Indian artistic traditions that had been relegated to obscurity.
Modern art is a continuum - so the above title is not appropriate but necessitated due to recent events. The artwork pictured here is crucially important and was extracted around 2017 from Jamini Roy’s residence in Ballygunge Place East. The work used to be so significant that it would be seen at the entrance of his studio and was used in every exhibition as a welcome continuing the Bengali tradition of Alpona.
We present a rare collection of first editions (most are either the first editions or early printings), printed in India and from the difficult-to-source period of the 1920s to 1960s. Many of these books are un-documented and have never been offered by antiquarian book dealers. Being printed in India very few copies of most have survived, making pricing exceptionally challenging in the absence of comparables.
The country just lost an eminent poet and a Rabindranath Tagore specialist. I had first heard of Sankha Ghosh from Raman Sivakumar at Santiniketan, who had suggested I take his help in annotating Rabindranath Tagore’s speeches from the Rathindranath Tagore estate. Annotating Rabindranath is not an easy task, there are many nuances. These speeches were written in interesting times – independence movement, internal politics in Santiniketan, impending wars, and leading up to the famous crisis of civilizations speech just before he passed away.
...have hurt my ears severely. In entire India, it is only in Bengal, that Sanskrit pronunciation is such non-Aryan. Mutilation of Sanskrit in such a manner, I have not seen in any other state. Especially convolution of utter-able mantras is to be considered a blunder. Since it has hurt me, I had to say this.
After many days, today I am present in front of you in this shrine (mandir). I have come with a lot of hesitation. I am aware that due to prolonged absence our entire organization has become weak. For whatever reason it may be, your minds are no longer ready to accept all the functions, activities, and rites of the Ashrama. There is no point denying this. For this, not only are you to be held responsible but we are equally responsible.
The passing away of noted Bengali poet, essayist, Tagorian scholar, at the age of 90 on April 21st signifies an end of an era in Bengali literature and creates an irreplaceable void in the cultural domain of Bengali intelligentsia. Otherwise, soft-spoken and sober, Sankha babu in his immaculate white-dhoti-Punjabi, in his quiet and calm way became the most vociferous voice of Bengali youth and civil society in his writings. Be it on anything in the cultural field or the world around us, he became the conscience of every sensitive, educated Bengali, who never hesitated to speak out his mind, loud and clear, irrespective of the political regimes in the state.
An intensely private artist whose artistic imagination was fuelled by the strange, dark fantasy of his grandmother’s stories and charred by the horrors of his reality, Ganesh Pyne's paintings are quiet revelations of his personality. Pyne's intricate ink works, haunting temperas, and jottings are rich in imagery and symbolism, bordering along the uncanny and drawing our attention to a world beyond the familiar. His art deeply rooted in dark, unsettling images, derived from mythology and dreams.
The art of portraiture seems much more enticing today when we live in a world where ‘portraits’ can be created at the click of a button with a single handheld device. There is something enigmatic about how artists in the past captured personalities with strokes of the brush and immortalized them in portraits. There is something romantic about the notion of portraits themselves, and how a sensitive artist could capture the physical characteristics as well as the psychological aspect of the subject of the portrait.
Atul Bose (1898-1977) was virtually forgotten in the decades following independence when the Progressive Artists of Bombay dominated in the era of Nehruvian modernism. Recently, many of these earlier artists are undergoing significant reassessment.
Abanindranath Tagore was known as the father of modernism in India. Inspired by nationalist leaders who were demanding independence from the British, many Indians were using local products instead of imported and expensive foreign products.
In India modernism starts due to a desire to move away from the academic art being practiced and advanced by the British. Abanindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy were the earliest of the Indigenous modernists.