Lot 1
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Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951)

4,000 - 6,000 USD
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  • Abanindranath Tagore
  • Untitled
  • Signed in Bengali lower left
  • Watercolor and wash on paper laid on card
  • 9 1/4 by 6 3/4 in. (23.5 by 17 cm.)


This painting has been in the current owner's family since the 1930's


Exhibited at the Bengal School of Art, Calcutta, 1924

Catalogue Note

At the beginning of the twentieth century Abanindranath Tagore was regarded by many as the leading figure of a revivalist movement in modern Indian painting.  In 1907, Tagore established the Indian School of Oriental Art and founded ‘The Bengal School’, which was responsible for the pioneering aspects of the Bengal movement. Under his guidance, a new generation of painters emerged, like Nandalal Bose, Asit Halder, Kshitindranath Mazumdar and Jamini Roy. Although the Bengal movement is now criticised for being too derivative he is credited with key contributions that led to a renaissance in Indian art.

Born on 7th August, 1871, at Jorasanko, the Tagore family residence, Abanindranath grew up in a wealthy family environment, where creativity was encouraged and his family was at the forefront of patronage of the arts in Calcutta. He was educated at Sanskrit College, Calcutta and took private painting lessons from British and Italian instructors. As a young man Abanindranath came under the influence of Signor O. Gilhardi, Principal of the Calcutta school of Art and another acclaimed artist, Charles Palmer. He quickly absorbed ideas from the European watercolor tradition, but importantly he developed his own oeuvre that drew inspiration from the Indian miniature tradition and the classical Buddhist murals of Ajanta. 

Tagore's paintings were exhibited in London and Paris in 1913, followed by another international exhibition in Japan in 1919. At the time his works were admired by Rodin and Rothenstein. He was further inspired by Okakura, a Japanese artist and art-critic who came to India with Swami Vivekananda. Okakura was of the opinion that the spirit of a nation expresses itself in its art, and that from the point of view of art, all Asia was one. Later, Abanindranath studied Japanese art under the guidance of two other Japanese artists, Yokoyama Taikoan and Hilsida, who were sent to India by Okakura himself and it is the Japanese wash technique that appears to influence the style of the current work.