Sukhuda Chowdhurani
Title Sukhuda Chowdhurani
Accession Number ngma-00285
Museum Name National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
Object Type Drawing
Main Material Pencil on paper
Main Artist Mukul Dey (1895-1989)
Artist's Nationality Indian
Artist's Life Date / Bio Data Mukul Dey was born on 23rd July 1895 in Sridhar Khola village in West Bengal. Mukul Dey was sent to Santiniketan in 1907 at the behest of his father and received education in an informal fashion until 1911. By 1912, Mukul Dey left Santiniketan to study art under Abanindranath Tagore who initiated the young artist to the art of etching. Three years of training with Abanindranath allowed him to further train his skills and his works were exhibited in European cities through the exhibitions sent by the Indian Society of Oriental Art. Through his stay at Jorasanko W.W. Pearson took keen interest in the works of Mukul Dey and introduced him to the technique of dry - point etching. He also arranged for the artist's trip to Japan with Rabindranath Tagore where he met Yokoyama Taikwan, Shimamura Kwanzan and Tomitaro Hara. Dey also got the opportunity during 1916-17 to travel extensively throughout the United States. In Chicago, Dey trained with J. Blanding Sloan and was elected a member of the Chicago Society of Etchers. Mukul Dey on his return to India travelled extensively making copies of the ancient frescoes at the Ajanta and Bagh caves. To earn his livelihood he started making commissioned portraits which were published in the Bombay Chronicle and Illustrated Weekly. Mukul Dey also sold his copies of the Ajanta paintings to study in England and it was in the year 1920 that he first joined the Slade School of Art and then earned himself a scholarship into the Royal College of Art to study painting. In England, Mukul Dey also continued to learn etching under Sir Muirhead Bone, eminent artist and printmaker and Sir Frank Short, President of the Royal Society of Etchers. His works were displayed in several exhibitions in England which drew much admiration from the art critics. Mukul Dey was simultaneously delivering lectures on Indian art and history. Mukul Dey permanently returned to India in 1927 and was appointed as the first Principal of Government School of Art in Calcutta. Mukul Dey is known as pioneer of printmaking in India as he introduced the knowledge of graphics, particularly of dry point and etching.
Country India
Period / Year of Work 1918
Inscription Signed 'M. Dey' and dated '18.1918' in English along the right margin of the sketch. There are inscriptions in English which read as, 'Shridhar Khola' (referring to the place) and inscription in Bengali read as, 'Sukhuda Chowdhurani' (referring to the place).
Dimensions 9 x 11.5 inch
Detailed Description The collection of NGMA has close to 390 artworks of Mukul Dey which include drawings, sketches and prints acquired by the museum from the artist's family and from other private art collections. The artist's works include portraits and drawings of the renowned personalities of the time from diverse fields of politics, literature, science, education and also of the leading entrepreneurs, acquaintances, family members and friends. Apart from the portraits the collection also has paintings executed in the Bengal School style portraying landscapes especially of the Bengal countryside, the native people in all their glory, the flora and fauna, the saints and Bauls preaching wisdom through the villages, the monuments and also those narrating the religious fables, the folk tales and customs of the land.
Brief Description Mukul Dey started painting portraits early in his career and continued it all through life making a living out of his art. In this sketch, he has depicted a detail portrait of an old woman named ‘Sukhuda Chowdhurani’, as mentioned in the inscription, rendered with soft, smudge strokes of pencil delineating the contours and highlighting her facial features.