Rabindranath Tagore in the Island of Birds
Title Rabindranath Tagore in the Island of Birds
Accession Number ngma-01004
Museum Name National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi
Gallery Name NGMA-New Delhi
Object Type Painting
Main Material Wash and tempera on paper
Main Artist Gaganendranath Tagore (1867-1938)
Artist's Nationality Indian
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.
Country India
Dimensions 17 X 21.2 cms
Detailed Description 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."