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Abanindranath Tagore

Regarded as the father of India’s modern art, and the Leader of the Revivalist Movement in the field of Modern Indian Painting in Bengal, Abanindranath Tagore is also credited with a key contribution towards ushering in the renaissance in Indian painting.
Abanindranath Tagore was born on the 7th of August 1871 at Jorasanko, the family residence of the Tagores. He was the son of artist Gunendranath Tagore and a cousin of poet Rabindranath Tagore.
He was educated at the Sanskrit College, Kolkata. During the 1880s he studied under Italian artist Signior Chilardi and English painter Charles Palmer.
He was the Vice-Principal of the Government School of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata, where he worked under E. B. Havell. Havell himself was enamored with the richness of India's artistic tradition and pioneered the rejection of the rigors of learning European art in Indian art schools. He strongly favored Indian art that would spring from deep-seated national sentiment. Havell drew his attention to the Mughal, Rajput and Pahari miniatures. Abanindranath was greatly influenced by the fine decorative lines, vibrant colors and the power behind the canvas. Abanindranath turned to Indian traditional art only in 1895 and for ten years he then experimented with the Rajput style of painting. During this period he created a series of Radha and Krishna and also worked on the Krishna Leela episode between 1895 and 1905.
In 1905, Abanindranath came into contact with Okakura, a great Japanese artist and art-critic who had come to India with Swami Vivekananda. Okakura declared that the spirit of a nation expresses itself in its art. He also said that from the point of view of art, all Asia is one. After he returned to Japan, Okakura sent to India two other Japanese artists, Yokoyama Taikoan and Hilsida. Abanindranath studied Japanese brush work and wash method under their guidance.
In the same year, he laid the foundation for the Bengal school of Indian painting, where he finally led the revivalist movement in the field of modern Indian paintings with the help of a band of disciples - A K Haldar, K N Majumdar, S N Gupta and a host of others. He founded the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Kolkata (1907); Bageswari Professor of Fine Arts, Kolkata University (1923-24).
He died in 1951, his works are declared as National Art Treasures. The largest number of paintings by Abanindranath - over 500 - forms a part of Rabindra Bharati Society's collection at Jorasanko, Kolkata. He exhibited at the Calcutta Government College of Art exhibition (1900), Indian School of Oriental Art, Calcutta (1908), Crystal Palace, London (1911), the 22nd exhibition of the Societe des Peintres Orientalistes Francais, Grand Palais, Paris travelling to Belgium, The Netherlands & imperial Institute, England (1914), Travelling Exhibition organized by the Indian School of Oriental Art and the American Federation of Art (1924), Athene Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland (1928).
He viewed art as work being strung together on a sustained level and continuously. His work was a mixture of traditionalism and innovation. More so probably because, when he arrived on the art scene Indian art was in a confused stage. Though he entered into the art world at a later age, he matured as a painter very soon, absorbing ideas and developing his own oeuvre.
He aimed at comparing nature in its transient forms and produced an image part object, part sensuous, both transposed into each other. But his vision on nature was always poetic, as was his personal form of expression.
When art was replete with romanticism Abanindranath established his anti idealistic stance by declaring that, "if art could realize perfect beauty the whole show would have ended long ago."
Nicholas Roerich observed the glorious development of Indian art and explained Abanindranath's importance in it as "A power beacon, as a guru of an entire school of art." He is also known to have said the following about Abanindranath Tagore, "The emotions packed in his paintings in their imaginative genuine rhythm is full of poetic symbolism. His paintings seem to say to his master we are singing of his hand and heart."
The influence of Abanindranath on modern Indian art is profound and under his guidance a new generation of painters- Nandalal Bose, Asit Halder, Kshitindranath Majumder and Jamini Roy - brought about a revival in Indian art.

Artwork for Sale

by Abanindranath Tagore


17 X 21 inches