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Lots which are Art Treasures under the Art and Ant… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF DHIRENDRA KRISHNA DEB BARMAN A member of the Tripura royal family, Dhirendra Krishna Deb Barman was born in 1903. His talent was spotted at a young age, and he had the privilege of being introduced to and studying under Rabindranath Tagore at Brahmacharya Ashram from 1910 in Santiniketan. Later, Deb Barman joined Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan, where he worked under Nandalal Bose between 1919 and 1928, as one of first batch of students. During that time, he also accompanied Rabindranath Tagore on a cultural trip to Java and Bali, and other Far East countries. In his life he had the privilege of being very close and groomed by the old Masters like Abanindranath and Gaganendranath of the Tagore family stalwarts and Asit Halder of early Santiniketan period and Lucknow Art College. A muralist of great talent, Deb Barman was one of four Indian artists selected to carry out the decoration of India House, London, in 1929. According to William Rothenstein, who supervised the project including the eighteen months that the artists spent training at the Royal Academy in London and in Florence, "He [Deb Barman] proved himself both a remarkably resourceful designer and a thoroughly competent executant, and I was greatly impressed by his general ability as a mural decorator." (W. Rothenstein, 'Letter of Recommendation', 3 January 1933) "On the first floor lobby, Barman painted a set of eight pendentives to represent the eight phases of life [...] Deb Barman [also] painted the Northern Quadrant [of the Central Dome] visualising the Emperor Ashoka (304 BC-232 BC) sending his daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka to propagate the teachings of Buddha [...] Rabindranath Tagore visited India House in 1931 with Rothenstein to meet the artists. He was delighted to discover that all the subjects and themes selected for the murals were typically Indian. The painting of all the murals was completed in January 1932. The spirit of Indian nationalism had found creative expression in the heart of London." (A. Mukerji, 'Celebrating London's India House Art', India Perspectives, Vol. 24, No. 3, New Delhi, August 2010, pp. 109-112) On his return to India after completing the commission Deb Barman published an article in Prabasi magazine (Bengali) about the experience titled Londone India House'r Deyal Chitra in October 1932. During this period he also taught in Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan as a teacher alongside Nandalal Bose for a year. A few years later, after completing several mural commissions around India, a one man exhibition of his work was opened by Sir Cowasji Jehangir at the Cama Oriental Institute in Bombay in 1939. His work was also shown in exhibitions sponsored by the All-India Fine Arts and Crafts Society in Europe, America and Egypt. In 1961, his works were shown in Mexico and other Latin American countries as part of an exhibition sponsored by the Indian Government's Ministry of Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs. He was also selected by the Government of India to participate in the Seminar organised by UNESCO on the Role of the Arts and crafts in General Education and Community Life in Tokyo in August, 1954. Deb Barman visited China in 1955 as a guest of the Chinese government and visited famous art institutions and art galleries of that country. He went to the famous Thousand Buddha caves in the remote Kansu province to copy the wall paintings. In India, his Mural paintings decorate several prominent institutions like Mahajati Sadan and university senate hall in Calcutta, Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya in Madurai (Tamil Nadu), Shahid Smarak in Jabalpur (M. P.) etc. Among many honours and awards, Barman received the Abanindra Award from the West Bengal Akademy of Dance, Drama, Music and Fine Arts in 1981; the Gagan Aban Puroskar by Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan 1985 and the Kala Ratna by the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi 1991. As a dedicated educationist, Deb Burman spent a lot of time tutoring the children of the Sarabhai family (Vikram Sarabhai and siblings) in Ahmedabad on Rabindranath Tagore's request. He also established the Tripura Loka Sikshalaya, a school for students from the tribal communities of the state. After Nandalal Bose's retirement, Deb Barman was invited to join Kala Bhavan at Santiniketan as Adhyaksha or Principal.

Uma the Great Mother Daughter of the Mountain

Uma the Great Mother Daughter of the Mountain
signed in Bengali (lower right); inscribed 'Uma The great mother Daughter of the Mountain By Abanindranath Tagore 5. Dwarkanath Tagore's [...] Calcutta' and further inscribed in Bengali (on the reverse)
watercolour on paper laid on card
4½ x 3½ in. (11.4 x 8.9 cm.)
Executed circa 1920s
Gift of the artist
Thence by descent
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Lot Essay

Abanindranath Tagore began his artistic career with his first published work in 1891 and figures prominently in discussions about the beginnings of modern Indian art. A. Tagore started as a nationalist-revivalist artist, a categorisation that is largely due to his relationship with E.B. Havell, Rabindranath Tagore and Sister Nivedita. However, on closer examination one discovers that A. Tagore assimilated much from oriental art, relied heavily on symbolism and is a modernist in the true sense.

Among the many teachings and influences that guided his mature style, A. Tagore had the opportunity to study with Okakura Kakuzo in Japan, 1902 and met with his students Taikan Yokayama and Hishida Shunso in India, 1903. Compared to the staccato shapes and bold colors that characterised traditional Indian paintings, artists of the Japan Academy of Fine Arts used a brush and wash technique to soften lines and as a way to treat the midground and background. The resulting suggestive and atmospheric quality that at first frustrated A. Tagore, ultimately became the hallmark of his sensitive works. In this way, A. Tagore experimented with new forms of expression and intuitively articulated new content in his art by drawing upon the Indian landscape, its vast history and mythologies.

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