INDIAN MODERN ARTIST
- Born in 1871, Jorasanko, Calcutta, British India
- Died in 1951, Kolkata, India
- Lived and worked in Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India
UNDERSTANDING THE ARTIST
An iconic figure, Abanindranath Tagore marked his place in the history of Indian art - he spearheaded a new nationalist art movement as a reaction against the imposition of western art. He perceived Western art practices as a violence against the Indian arts and allied himself along with the anti-British struggle in his own way by rejecting western art for oriental modes of painting. He adopted traditional Indian forms such as Rajput and Mughal miniatures and used images drawn from Indian religion, iconography, literature and history in his works.
Born into the renowned Tagore family of Jorasanko, he was naturally drawn towards the arts, literature and theatre. His first formal training as an artist occurred under the Italian painter Gilhardi and Englishman Charles Palmer in western techniques such as oils, pastels, water colours, portraiture and still life. He dropped out of both soon enough but still appropriated some art nouveau into his works.
Japanese curator Okakuru's visit in 1905 was also an important landmark in the development of Abanindranath's work as it exposed him to the Japanese brush work and art technique, it also helped in taking in idea of developing an Indian language in painting to a pan-Asian level. The wash technique was important not just as another technique which made Abanindranath's work more inclusive, but it also gave them a spiritual quality which added to the pan-oriental language he wished to create.
His admiration of Indian art led him to work together with renowned art administrator of his times, EB Havell. After Havell's departure, Abanindranath also founded the Indian School of Oriental Art together with his brother Gaganendranath Tagore and Shantiniketan, which went on to produce artists such as Nandalal Bose. He also wrote and illustrated his own works.
Abanindranath Tagore, Illustration for Parrot's Training, 1918, ink, 25.4 x 17.78 cm.
Abanindranath Tagore, Moonlight Music Party, 1906
Abanindranath Tagore, Journey’s End, 1913
Abanindranath Tagore, Omar Khayyam, 1909
Abanindranath Tagore, Shahjadpur Landscape, 1927, water colour
Abanindranath Tagore, Tear drop on Lotus Leaf, 1912
Abanindranath Tagore, The Feast of the Lamp, 1907, 6.75 x 5 in
Abanindranath Tagore, The King, 1938, water colour
Abanindranath Tagore, The Passing of Shah Jehan, 1902
Abanindranath Tagore, The Victory of Buddha, 1914.