(1867 - 1938)
Gaganendranath Tagore was active/lived in India. Gaganendranath Tagore is known for modernist painting, cartoons, lithographs.
Biography from the Archives of askART
Gaganendranath Tagore (September 18, 1867—1938) was an Indian painter and cartoonist of the Bengal school*. Along with his brother Abanindranath Tagore, he was counted as one of the earliest modern artists in India.
Biography from Saffronart
Gaganendranath Tagore was born at Jorasanko into a family whose creativity defined Bengal's cultural life. Gaganendranath was the eldest son of Gunendranath Tagore, who was a grandson of "Prince' Dwarkanath Tagore. His brother Abanindranath was a pioneer and leading exponent of the Bengal School of Art. He was a nephew of the poet Rabindranath Tagore.
Gaganendranath received no formal education but trained under the watercolourist Harinarayan Bandopadhyay. In 1907, along with his brother Abanindranath, he founded the Indian Society of Oriental Art, which later published the influential journal Rupam. Between 1906 and 1910, the artist studied and assimilated Japanese brush techniques and the influence of Far Eastern art into his own work, as demonstrated by his illustrations for Rabindranath Tagore's autobiography Jeevansmriti (1912). He went on to develop his own approach in his Chaitanya and Pilgrim series.
Gaganendranath eventually abandoned the revivalism of the Bengal School and took up caricature*. The Modern Review published many of his cartoons in 1917. From 1917 onwards, his satirical lithographs* appeared in a series of books, including Play of Opposites, Realm of the Absurd and Reform Screams.
Between 1920 and 1925, Gaganendranath pioneered experiments in modernist painting. Partha Mitter describes him as "the only Indian painter before the 1940s who made use of the language and syntax of Cubism in his painting". From 1925 onwards, the artist developed a complex post-cubist style.
Gaganendranath also took a keen interest in theatre, and wrote a children's book in the manner of Lewis Carroll, Bhodor Bahadur ('Otter the Great').
"Gaganendranath Tagore", Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaganendranath_Tagore (Accessed 1/26/2013)
* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see AskART.com Glossary http://www.askart.com/AskART/lists/Art_Definition.aspx
Born on September 18, 1867, into the Tagore family in Kolkata, Gaganendranath Tagore as a self-taught artist and nephew of the great Rabindranath Tagore.
Gaganendranath had very little formal education; in fact he had a very short spell at the St Xavier's School where he took a brief interest in drawing and painting and a briefer still one in academic studies. His interest in life and later art, was limited to, and conditioned by his love for everything swadeshi (native).
In fact even his earliest attempts at sketches are linked to the freedom movement. During the period of 1906-07, he used to receive frequent summons to serve on the special jury. During the course of his visits to the court, Gaganendranath would make use of his time making sketches of the jurors and counsel. This is where it's said that he evolved as an artist and cartoonist.
In 1907, he founded the Indian Society of Oriental Art along with his brother Abanindranath Tagore, but Gaganendranath remained the moving spirit behind it.
Coming form a political background --- his family was involved in the freedom struggle --- his work seems to be inspired and his imagination carried away by anything Indian or Oriental. His earliest sketches and landscapes date back to 1905. While his landscapes bear a Japanese stamp --- he was inspired by Japanese artist Yokoyama Taikan. His work also shows a great influence of experimentalist art prevalent in Europe in the late 1800's. He was extremely proficient in the European watercolor technique.
During 1916-18, he evolved a new language of humor and satire in caricature. His work also found its way to magazines and newspapers and thus was born a new department in art called Vichitra club.
In 1923-28 he experimented with cubism, producing a series of pictures filled with blended geometric forms. He later developed his own brand of cubism, most of his work in the process moving towards geometric compositions.
His work can thus be broadly divided into specific phases. Brush work with Japanese style, some with gold backgrounds, portrait sketches, illustrations for Jeevan Smriti, water color sketches of rural Bengal, the Himalayan studies, the Chaitanya series, caricatures of Indian life, his semi-cubistic experiments, pictures of folk lore and representations of the symbolism of death and the other world.
Apart from his paintings, Gaganendranath was known for his interest in photography. Black and white being the medium used those days, a lot of his work on canvas is also inspired by the interplay of the two colors, developing a mysterious relationship on canvas.
Rabindranath Tagore, his uncle, is said to have commented on his art in 1938, "What profoundly attracted me was the uniqueness of his creation, a lively curiosity in his constant experiments, and some mysterious depth in their imaginative value. Closely surrounded by the atmosphere of a new art movement ... he sought out his own untrodden path of adventure, attempted marvelous experiments in coloring and made fantastic trials in the magic of light and shade."
The largest number of paintings of Gaganendranath now forms part of Rabindra-Bharati Society's collection at Jorasanko, Kolkata. Gaganendranath Tagore passed away on 14th February 1938 in Kolkata.
** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
Share an image of the Artist email@example.com.