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 Gopal Ghose  (1913 - 1980)

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Lived/Active: India      Known for: painting

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Untitled (Landscape); Untitled (Figures in a Boat)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Gopal Ghose (1913-1980)

Trained in the style of art known as the neo-Bengal School, Gopal Ghose was born in Kolkata in 1913.  He became a legend in his lifetime for his ingenious handling of the quick and unpredictable medium of watercolor.  To him goes the credit of raising its status in Indian art history, from a dabbler's medium to an artist's medium.

After obtaining a diploma in painting from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Jaipur in 1935, he formally trained in sculpture, from Government College of Art, Madras, where he studied under Debi Prasad Roy Choudhuri, known for his realistic style in his paintings and sculptures.

 He was one of the founder members of the well-known Calcutta Group (1943).  Proficient with several mediums, Ghose was adept not only with watercolor, but also with tempera, pen and ink, and brush and pastel.  His economical technique of swift sweeping brushwork in his landscapes was especially admired, including by the likes of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.  Among his contemporaries, he stood out, both as a draughtsman and as a skilled water colorist.

Ghose taught at the Indian Society of Oriental Art, in Kolkata from 1940-45 and then joined the faculty of the Bengal Engineering College, Shibpur, where he taught architectural drawing.  He was also the joint secretary of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata.  The Indian landscape fascinated him and he traveled extensively within the country on his bicycle.  He also stayed in various Indian cities with diverse climates and terrains, including snow-peaked Simla, temperate Madras and holy Benares.  He also traveled to Europe and America.

He liked to draw as much as he painted and there was great diversity in his drawings that covered the many aspects of nature: trees, flowers and the Indian terrain - paddy fields, bamboo groves and riverside life.  His sense of experimentation, together with his skill in drawing coloring produced some masterpieces.  Normally small in size, his paintings have a miniature quality, but they point towards the impressionistic.  His appeal is sensual and lyrical, almost poetic.  His palette favored mellow hazy shades broken with patches of sharp color.  At a time when art was dissociating itself from beauty, Gopal Ghose's paintings stood as a reminder of the pleasure and sensory delight that art is capable of evoking.

Ghose died in 1980.  His works are difficult to come by today since most of them he simply gave away or sold at a nominal price.  Still, some works made it to some of the prestigious collections in the country including those of the Birla Academy of Art & Culture, Kolkata, and the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.

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