||Rabindranath Tagore in the Island of Birds
||National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
||Wash and tempera on paper
||Gaganendranath Tagore (1867-1938)
|Artist's Life Date / Bio Data
||Born to the family of Tagore's of Jorasanko, Kolkata, Gaganendranath was the elder brother of Abanindranath Tagore. With little formal training in art Gaganendranath began painting at an advanced age. He was inspired by the calligraphic brushwork and the wash technique of the visiting Japanese artists, Yokoyama Taikan and Hishida Shunsho. In the early 20's of the Twentieth century, Gaganendranath responded positively to the European modernist idiom. He began painting seriously when he started illustrating his uncle Rabindranath Tagore's autobiography in 1911. Gaganendranath like his younger brother Abanindranath and uncle Rabindranath had a wide range of interests that covered theatre, fantasy and the like. He also practiced photography and this can be seen in the use of light and shadows in his paintings. From 1917 onwards he did a series of satirical caricatures of changes taking place in the society of his times. Many of his paintings were referred to as 'cubist' because of the division of the figures and ground into geometrical planes. Gaganendranath painted portraits, landscapes, caricatures, abstract and 'cubist' paintings.
||17 X 21.2 cms
||Gaganendranath Tagore painted several portraits of uncle
Rabindranath Tagore. They are not realistic likenesses but
introduce notes of fantasy and imagination. Here the central
figure of the poet is placed against a backdrop of geometric
forms, mainly arcs in soft luminous colours.
According to art historian, Ratan Parimoo, the artist painted
his version of cubist images in colour and black ink between
1921 and 1925. Of these experiments in visual language,
eminent artist and aesthetician Benodebehari Mukherjee wrote
in his article for the book Gaganendranath Tagore, published
by Indian Society of Oriental Art, 1972, "....Gaganendranath
through his experimental play with brush and colour, captured
the charming capriciousness of refracted light."