Untitled (Set of Five)
October 25, 02:50 PM GMT
8,000 - 12,000 GBP
1921 - 2006
Untitled (Set of Five)
Watercolour and pastel on paper
Signed and dated 'S / 20 9 81' lower right; 'S 21 9 81' lower left; 'S / 30 9 81' lower left; 'S 30 9 81' lower left; 'S / 3 10 81 upper right'
23.7 x 26.4 cm. (9 ⅜ x 10 ⅜ in.) each
Executed in 1981
“What do I draw? The unfolding of my being, which in my case, is inscribed as wounds.”
– Somnath Hore
(S. Chopra, Somnath Hore: Drawings, Etchings & Sculptures, Arushi Arts, New Delhi, 2010, p. 4)
Born in 1921 in Chittagong, now in Bangladesh, Hore encountered the Communist Party as a young man. In 1943, he documented the great horrors of the Bengal famine for their newspaper, Janayudha. As a reporter, Hore was exposed to many parts of undivided Bengal, from tea gardens to prisons, and this left an indelible mark on his psyche. Members of the Party encouraged him to hone his skills at the Government School of Art, Calcutta in 1945, beginning his professional career in the arts. Some of his earliest influences and teachers were Zainul Abedin, Benode Bihari Mukherjee and Atul Bose, and from these masters, Hore created his own visual idiom.
Somnath Hore was more than a printmaker or a sculptor: he was a humanist. His artwork is a demonstration of the care and concern that he had for people, especially in reaction to the Bengal famine of 1943 and the Tebhaga movement, an uprising where sharecroppers successfully fought for a fair share of the harvest. The present works testify to Hore’s innate compassion for people amidst the suffering and adversity that he witnessed first-hand. 'He highlighted not only poverty, pain and toil, but collective resistance and hope in a better future… His art reveals that his true teachers were the ordinary people.' (S. Chopra, Somnath Hore: Drawings, Etchings & Sculptures, Arushi Arts, New Delhi, 2010, p. 2)
Hore’s legacy extends far beyond his own artwork. He joined the printmaking department at the Art Department of Delhi Polytechnic (now Delhi Art College) in 1958. In 1969, he directed the graphic arts department at Santiniketan before retiring in 1983. He won the National Award for painting at the National Exhibition of Art in 1961. Hore passed away in 2006, and the following year was posthumously awarded the Padma Bhushan. Earlier this year, K. S. Radhakrishnan curated a centenary exhibition of his work, as did the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art with Birth of a White Rose, inspiring long overdue awe and appreciation in Hore’s profound and meaningful oeuvre.