Acquired form the above by the current owner in 2008
Chowdhury was born in East Bengal and during Partition was moved with his family to Calcutta. In 1965, Chowdhury went to Paris on a French Government scholarship where he studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts. He also worked at Atelier 17, a print studio set up by the English artist, Stanley William Hayter, where Krishna Reddy was assistant director (see Lots 19 and 20). Chowdhury's return to India from Paris in 1967 marked a turning point in his career. In 1969 he began his famous series, Reminiscences of a Dream. These intricate ink and wash cross-hatched drawings echoed the etchings he produced whilst working at the Atelier.
From the 1970s onwards, Chowdhury began to include references to popular visual culture. During this period he also developed his own unique approach for the treatment of his subject. He drew inspiration from folk art sources, including Kalighats and Battala woodcuts. Chowdhury references local traditions and popular visual culture to comment on the complexities and contradictions of Bengali middle-class society. The artist combines fantasy with reality to produce subjects that are often grotesque and distorted.
Jogen Chowdhury's subjects are usually rendered against a black background, their fluid contours tightened with cross-hatching and heightened with touches of colour. The absence of a background allows the viewer to focus purely on the central character, evoking a sense of human alienation. His figures are woven into a shape with a spidery web of dense cross hatched lines, fleshed out with a hint of colour added with a soft dry pastel. "We did not have electricity in our house and I had to read by the hurricane lantern. I had to fall back on black and white because we did not have enough light...We had a miserable state of living when we came to Kolkata as refugees...The criss-crossing lines, too, may be carrying traces of the environmental and mental complications of that time." (ibid. p. 52).
Jogen Chowdhury, soon to be showcased at the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi is known for his fluid forms against a dark backdrop with distinctive cross-hatched lines creating a sense of texture. Here the fruit is suggestive of both, the fertile and the onanistic.
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