|Biography from Saffronart:|
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Binode Behari Mukherjee (b.1904-d.1980)
He joined the Vishwa Bharti University
and Kala Bhavan at Santiniketan, in 1919. He had Nandalal Bose and
poet-Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore for gurus, and he spent his most
creative phase at the institute. He joined his alma mater as an art
teacher in 1925. Mukherjee ultimately left Santiniketan in 1949 and
moved to Delhi. In between, Mukherjee worked as a curator for
the Nepal government Museum, as an adviser to the Educational
Department in Nepal, besides training artists in Mussourie and Patna.
Mukherjee was one among the leading art figures of pre-Independent
India. He played a crucial role in the evolution of visual art. He broke
away from the `Bengal Revivalist School`, and established a more modern
school of art. His importance as an artist lay in his
ability to break away from the turn of the century Bengal Revivalist
mould and create a dynamic modern vocabulary, which paved the way for
the next generation of artists in the 1940s. Mukherjee led art beyond
the dominance of literary subjects and mythology, to a form that gave
importance to pictorial elements such as color, line and texture. This,
at a time when modern art was considered `taboo`, and Indian tradition
was thought to be `holy` and unchanging.
as an artist spans half a century and has been varied and ever changing.
As an artist, he has experimented with many mediums, ranging from
murals to collage, from woodcuts to calligraphy, from watercolors, oil
paint, ink and crayons to graphics. Despite having weak eyesight,
Mukherjee traveled widely and his real subjects were his experiences. He
once wrote, "The person who is not roused by a pulsating image, a small
touch or sound, can make no sense of the word `beauty`. A person who
neither knows, nor thinks beyond his worldly needs has no use for
beauty." Thus, whether he painted the sparse scrubland around
Santiniketan, sunflowers or lilies or even the Himalayan landscape, his
paintings were based not merely on observations but on timeless
patterns, on the intrinsic feel and texture of things. Initially, Mukherjee drew people he saw and met around him. But as his
vision deteriorated, he moved towards the elemental, the bare bones of
structures and forms. His stylistic development shows his preference for
simplicity. A serious student of Indian mural tradition, his skill and
competence found expression on the walls of the Hindi and Chinese
Bhavans (wings) on the premises of the Tagore University Campus.
He later moved on to wax sculptures. The ceilings of the Kalabhavan
student hostel, which he did in egg tempera, marked the climax of his
search for graphics. Mukherjee was a major inspiration for filmmaker
Satyajit Ray. He was Ray`s art teacher. The filmmaker made a documentary
`The Inner Eye`, where he portrayed the triumphant spirit of his art
teacher. Mukherjee exhibited his works in Mumbai, Kolkata,
New Delhi, Ahemdabad, Mussorie and Tokyo.
His works are in the
collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, Rabindra
Bharti, Kolkata and other private and public collections. Awarded the
Padma Vibhushan in 1974, the artist was also honored by Vishwa Bharti
with its highest title `Dekhikottam`.
Binode Behari Mukherjee turned completely blind in 1957. He died in Delhi in November 1980.
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