Exact Match
Title Gossip
Museum Name National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
Object Type Painting
Main Material
Medium Watercolor on Paper
Main Artist Ramkinkar Baij
Artist's Nationality Indian
Artist's Life Date / Bio Data Ramkinkar Baij, one of the most seminal artists of modern India, was an iconic sculptor, painter and graphic artist. Ramkinkar Baij (1906-1980) was born in Bankura, West Bengal, into a family of little economic and social standing and grew by his sheer determination into one of the most distinguished early modernists of Indian art. In 1925, he made his way to Kala Bhavana, the art school at Santiniketan and was under the guidance of Nandalal Bose. Encouraged by the liberating, intellectual environment of Santiniketan, his artistic skills and intellectual horizons blossomed, thus acquiring greater depth and complexity. Soon after completing his studies at Kala Bhavana he became a faculty member, and along with Nandalal Bose and Benodebehari Mukherjee played a pivotal role in making Santiniketan one of the most important centres for modern art in pre-Independent India. In 1970, the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan for his irrefutable contribution to Indian art. Ramkinkar's monumental sculptures are established landmarks in public art. One of the earliest modernists in Indian art, he assimilated the idioms of the European modern visual language and yet was rooted in his own Indian ethos. He experimented restlessly with forms, moving freely from figurative to abstract and back to figurative, his themes were steeped in a deep sense of humanism and an instinctive understanding of the symbiotic relationship between man and nature. Both in his paintings and sculptures, he pushed the limits of experimentation and ventured into the use of new materials. For instance, his use of unconventional material, for the time, such as cement concrete for his monumental public sculptures set a new precedent for art practices. The use of cement, laterite and mortar to model the figures, and the use of a personal style in which modern western and Indian pre-classical sculptural values were brought together was equally radical.
Country India
Inscription Signed 'Ramkinkar' in Bengali in the bottom-left corner of the painting.
Detailed Description Ramkinkar Baij was a reclusive modernist artist who always remained on the fringes of the art market. He took a great interest in human figures, body language and in the general human drama. Modern Western art and pre and post-classical Indian art were his main point of reference. Although primarily known for his expressionistic sculpture, he was also a gifted painter. The sense of rhythm that his sculpture was noted for is manifested brilliantly in his paintings and sketches. His works in the Kalighat tradition interconnected with Cubism to achieve an unusual personal idiom. Both his sculpture and his paintings are unprompted and bold.
Brief Description Ramkinkar Baij selected images for his sculptures and paintings from his rural surroundings. The poor and the downtrodden figured primarily as his subjects. Baij's watercolours mostly reflect his preoccupation with nature and the animal world. His work is characterized by tremendous energy, dynamism and the use of earthy colours. In the above painting, the artist has depicted a group of girls sitting and chatting with dabs and dashes of watercolour in tonal variation delineating the form.