(1910 - 1980)
Ramkinkar Baij was active/lived in India. Ramkinkar Baij is known for painting.
Biography from Christie's London, King Street
Born in 1906, not only was Ramkinkar Baij India’s first modern sculptor,
but also “one of the most important voices in the discourse on
modernism in India.” (N. Ahuja, Ramkinkar through the Eyes of Devi Prasad, New Delhi, 2007, unpaginated)
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Baij spent most of his life at Santiniketan, first as one of Nandalal
Bose’s students at Kala Bhavan, then as a teacher and finally Head of
the Sculpture Department at the school. His most important large-scale
sculptural works remain on public display on the campus in Santiniketan.
Writing about Baij, Benode Behari Mukherjee remembered what Bose once
said to him about his colleague. “At noon, Acharya Nandalal appeared in
my studio room and said, ‘Benode, go and watch Ramkinkar sculpting in
clay, the dexterity of his hands is really unnerving! This is not
achievable with the devotion of one life only! Ramkinkar is born with
the continuum of endeavor across many incarnations.’” (B. Mukherjee, Sadhak-Shilpi Ramkinkar, cited in Ramkinkar Baij, Self-Portrait, Writings and Interviews 1962-1979, Kolkata, 2005, pp. 9-10)
Even before Baij moved to Santiniketan in 1925, Mahatma Gandhi had made a
strong impression on him through his 1921 Non-Cooperation Movement. In
his hometown of Bankura, he worked briefly with the Congress Party under
Anilbaran Ray, painting posters and large portraits of its leaders and
even spinning khadi. This impressive sculpture by Baij, one of
three versions of the subject he made, captures one of the most iconic
images of the twentieth century, and certainly of modern Indian history,
in a unique expressionist idiom.
Here, in the tradition of several artists before him, most notably
Nandalal Bose, Baij portrays a determined Gandhi, mid-stride.
Bose’s work, however, Baij’s version of Gandhi, despite its popular
title, is not headed to Dandi to break the British Salt Law and launch
his Satyagraha movement of non-violent civil disobedience. Likely
a maquette for one part of a large outdoor sculpture of Gandhi and
Rabindranath Tagore that Baij was planning, this 1948 image of Gandhi is
“one of the most powerful representations of him. Done immediately
after Gandhi’s assassination, it represents not the Gandhi of the Dandi
March, iconically rendered by Nandalal, but the Gandhi of Noakhali, the
man who walked courageously into a zone of communal violence trying to
calm religious hatred, and finally paid for the pursuit of peace with
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