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Ganesh Pyne

Ganesh Pyne was born in Calcutta in 1937. A shy introverted child, Pyne began sketching and doodling right from his childhood. After finishing school, he joined the Government College of Art & Craft in Calcutta. In 1959, he received his diploma in drawing and painting. Surprisingly he held his first solo exhibition as late as 1988 at The Village Gallery, New Delhi. He is one of India's foremost contemporary painters today.
Ganesh Pyne is known for his small tempera paintings, rich in imagery and symbols. Initially, Pyne painted watercolors and sketches of misty mornings and wayside temples. He acknowledges the influence of great painters like Abanindranath Tagore, Hals Rembrandt and Paul Klee. But he says that his exposure to Walt Disney's cartoons and his own experience as a young animator, in Calcutta, finally liberated him and helped him develop two important stylistic features - distortion and exaggeration. He uses these to explore the deep recesses of his fantastical imagination to create uncanny images of disquieting creatures. The artist draws his inspiration from Bengal's rich storehouse of folklore and mythology, stories that his grandmother told him in his childhood. The painter blends romanticism, fantasy and free form and an inventive play of light and shade to create a world of 'poetic surrealism'.
His signature style shaped from his own experiences of solitude, alienation, pain, horror and moods of tenderness and serenity comes to surface in each of his works. At times, these images are offshoots of an idea that may have flitted through his mind. At others, they resonate lines from poems that may have made an impression on his mind.
The lines are bold, precise, controlled and the drawings that emerge are potent both in form and content. Stripped of color, they convey the architectonic quality in the structuring of the images.
From water colour, Pyne turned to gouache and then tempera since the mid-'60s. It is from this time onwards that his figuration and palette also changed. A skeletal element was introduced into the figures while animal showed their fangs and claws. They were portrayed either as predators or victims. Dark shadows dominated his canvases offset with the use of a golden umber.
In the Indian miniature tradition, Pyne's paintings should be savoured slowly and at leisure. Ganesh Pyne can be described as being 'an artist's artist, a philosopher's philosopher and master fantasist of them all'.
Along with six solo exhibitions in Calcutta, Kochi and New Delhi, he has been invited to the ‘World Youth Festival’, Prague-1968; Indian International Triennial, New Delhi-1968 & 71; Paris Biennial, Paris-1970; Exhibition in aid of Menuhin School of Music, Royal Academy of Arts, London-1970; International Festival of Art, Cagnes-sur-Mer-1975; ‘Modern Indian Painting’, Hirschhorn Museum, Washington DC-1982; ‘Contemporary Indian Art’, Festival of India, Royal Academy of Arts, London-1982; ‘Indische Kunst Heute’, Darmdstadt, Germany-1982 & 86; ‘Trends and Images’, CIMA Gallery, Calcutta-1993; ‘Chamatkar - Myth and Magic in Indian Art’, curated by CIMA Gallery, Whiteleys Art Gallery, London-1996; ‘Tryst with Destiny - Art from Modern India’, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore-1997; ‘Image beyond Image’ traveling exhibition of Indian paintings from the Glenbarra Art Museum, Himeji, Japan to New Delhi, Calcutta, Bangalore and Bombay-1997. Ganesh Pyne has rarely moved out of his private world of Calcutta.He says, "I was born and brought up in Calcutta. I had to accept the city as it was."
Equally devoted to cinema as he is to painting, Pyne has also drawn inspirations from movies made by Fellini and Ingmar Bergman. Today, he is known as the foremost exponents of the Bengal School of art.
Ganesh Pyne lives and works out of Kolkata.

Artwork for Sale

The Mask
by Ganesh Pyne


25 X 31 inches