cplink1.gif (744 bytes)termslink.gif (679 bytes)feedlink1.gif (443 bytes)homelink1.gif (330 bytes)   

   
Contemporary Painter - Paritosh Sen

 

Gallery of Paintings

A journey through his childhood as narrated to Art News.....

 

P Sen : My father  had two marriages. From his first marriage he had five sons and three daughters and twelve children from his second. That made us a huge family, of twenty brothers and sisters!!  I was the   seventeenth child. However after the death of my father, my stepbrothers and stepsisters started   to live separately. At that time it was not that easy to take up drawing or painting as a profession  My drawing activities were all done in secret. I tried to remain as unobtrusive as possible while on the act.  Painting was considered a sheer wastage of time and money. So the aspiration to be an artist was a very impractical and non-judgmental thought.  However after passing the matriculation examination, crossing many hurdles, I made my way to the Art College . Apart from drawing, kite flying was my  favorites pastime. I used to make my own kites.  I must recall one incident which  later proved to be  a turning point of my life. In my final year, the last  examination was knocking at the door  yet I was still deeply involved in making and flying kites. Discovering this my elder brother  had beaten me up black and blue.  This  brought about a strange doggedness in me to pursue my painting career and I made it a point to go to Art College at any cost.

 

 *On my early days as a painter......

P Sen :  I was recognized as a painter from A very early  stage in my career.  There were t at that time which were very famous and widely circulated. One was 'Prabasi' the Bengali one and the other 'Modern Review'. Ramananda Chattopadhyaya  was the editor of 'Prabasi'. From Rabindra Nath Tagore to C R Das , every eminent writer  contributed in those two magazines. There were 3/4 color pages in 'Prabasi', while Modern review' had one. Works of the likes of Abanindra Nath Tagore, Nandalal Bose were published inn these two magazines. Getting published in either of them was a matter of great prestige and immediately the contributor was reckoned as one of the best. A lot of art works of mine got published in these when I was hardly nineteen or twenty years old. Art lovers from all over India came to know me for those works. There were a very few who actually bought paintings, but the only satisfaction was that people were knowing and recognizing me as an artist. 

 

*On the first exhibition.......

My first exhibition was held in Lahore ( Now at Pakistan ). It was in the year 1941.  I could hold my first exhibition   in Kolkata 1943, though in the meantime  several exhibitions were held at various places throughout  the country, As no professional art gallery  existed at that time, the exhibition was held at Maulana Azad College. That indeed was  a great beginning. 

*On the works of contemporary painters.........

P Sen : My preferred choices are  M F Hussain, Krishan Khanna, Akbar Padamse, S M D'souza, Ramkumar. Among them only Hussain is four years older to me,  others are  my contemporaries. I like the works of Ganesh Pyne, Ganesh Haloi, Jogen Chowdhury Bikas Bhattacharjee, who are younger to me.  

*On the works of younger artists........

P Sen :  Since physically I do not keep well often what, with backaches and respiratory problems, I hardly go out to watch exhibitions or  join workshops. But many young painters  visit  me with their works. I don't want to single any one out . If I can't recall someone's name now, that doesn't mean he or she is a bad painter.  This kind of question always puts me in discomfort. 

*On the area of comparison with painters of Bengal .......

P Sen : Painters of Delhi ,  Mumbai earn more than the artists of Bengal . That doesn't mean they are more talented. There is no such reason . Galleries of Delhi , Mumbai always try to promote local artists. They want to show artists of Delhi , Mumbai are more talented, so prices of their works should be higher. It's an artificial process  of hiking up prices which shouldn't last long.

Art News : If you agree to  lend  your paintings, drawings to the galleries of Delhi , Mumbai, we think there would be a long queue in front of your studio!

P Sen : Listen, They are sold at a much price. than the  price at which they are bought.. It's become  a  practice with  them. They collect art works at a very cheap rate. I receive calls from Mumbai, Delhi almost regularly. They enquire about my new works. Look, there are several reasons for the lower price of the painters of Bengal. Bengali artists look for the buyers mainly in Kolkata. Who'll purchase painting at such high rate here? Average Bengali art lovers don't have that ability. On the other hand so called affluent class belongs to a different community. Most of the people of this community are not capable to read  the language of art. So usually they don't become patron of art and artists. Of course there are exceptions, but that’s the rule of the game. On the contrary,  the scenario of  Mumbai was always different. The  Parsee community mainly patronized with Art and paintings. They had a strong cultural background and were genuine art lovers. A carpet on the floor and a painting on the wall carry  lot of  value added  message to them. So the possibility of a good art market existed there from  a long time. In those days, white people, I mean Europeans were the main buyers of paintings at Kolkata. They were the main business community. Most of them left the country after the Independence . The lion's share of the business of white people was grabbed by a specific community. Due to ignorance they seldom cared for the art of Bengal . For sometime now though, some galleries of Kolkata are trying to promote the artists of Bengal . CIMA, Gallery 88,Chitrakoot, Birla Academy are notable among them. 

*On the nature of Kolkata artists......

P Sen : In the  yesteryears artists of Kolkata were not good at art marketing. So price of their works were less. Buyers from outside mainly of Delhi , Mumbai took advantage of this. Recently the perspective is changing. Apart from those two cities there's a spurt of art marketing  in Chennai lately. They have also started enquires in Kolkata, which is really a positive sign.

*On the role of NRI  buyers........

P Sen : Through NRI buyers and art lovers, people from abroad came to know about Indian art and artists. Now websites showcasing Indian art are also playing a good role. Most of the buyers from abroad are NRI s. But sometimes foreign art collectors also collect modern Paintings of India.  Recently a Painting of Suhas Roy was collected by Vatican City . Ten years ago one of my painting was sold in USA   for Rs  8,00,000. Recently that painting was repurchased by a NRI for  RS 18,00,000.

This amount possibly is not that high according to their standards, but ten years back Rs 80,000 was a lot to me. 

Brief Biography :-

Paritosh Sen was born in Dhaka, now in Bangladesh , in 1918 in a noted Ayurved's family The world of nature, colour, movement fascinated him from his childhood asis clear from his collection of autobiographical vignettes, Jindabahar Lane , named after his Dhaka address. After finishing school, Sen ran away from home to join the Madras Art School headed by Devi Prosad Roy Chowdhury. His fellow-students there were K.C.S. Paniker, Prodosh Dasgupta, Gopal Ghosh and others. After finishing art school, Sen taught art at the Daly college in Indore . In 1943, he along with his friends formed the Kolkata group. In 1949, Sen left for Europe . In Paris , he studied at Andre Lhote's school, Academie Grand Chaumier, Ecole des Beaux Arts and Ecole des Louver where he studied the history of painting. The sojourn abroad provided an exciting exposure. A meeting with Picasso left a deep impression. in 1954, he returned to Kolkata. To earn a living, he joined the Netarhat School in Palamau, near Ranchi , as an art teacher. After a short stint there,Sen returned to Kolkata. He joined the newly opened school of printing technology as professor of design and layout at Jadavpore.In the early '60s, he went abroad to England and France . He was commissioned by the French government to design a Bengali typography based on the script of Rabindranath Tagore. This was an interest that surfaced once again in the '80s. Between 1970-7 1, he received the Rockefeller grant and went to New York . On his return, he created an installation on violence. Between 1981-82, Sen had been Artist-in-Residence at Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore. In 1985, Sen was invited by the National Institute of design at Ahmedabad to be an artist- in-residence. He taught a course in illustration. During his stay there he used the English translation of a piece from Jindabahar Lane ,l A Tree in My Village and made a folio-sized publication from it. It was a stimulating experiment where he wrote and illustrated the piece in ink on sensitized paper which acted as a negative and thereby excluded the negative film. It was one of the most fascinating exercises in 'marrying text with image. 

In the course of his career, Sen.'s style of painting has undergone many changes. From the stylized to the voluminous, expressionist figures, he has traversed a long way. But there are continuities. For example, The drawing with bold, vigorous strokes, the use of volume in the figuration and sharp irony have been impressive elements in his work. Since 199 1, his work has become more sensuous and he uses more exuberant colors.

    


Exhibitions |  Contemporary Painters | Terms & Conditions | Feedback | Home