- Gopal Ghosh
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.
1956-72 Joined as teaching staff, Government College of Art and Craft (GCAC), Kolkata 1945 Taught Architecture Drawing, Faculty of Bengal Engineering College, Shivpur. 1940-45 Taught at Indian Society of Oriental Art (ISOA), Kolkata 1935-38 Diploma in Sculpture & was student of D P Roychowdhury, Government College of Art and Craft (GCAC), Chennai. Became Art Teacher in BT Dept. of Scottish Church College, Kolkata. 1931-35 Diploma in Painting, Maharaja School of Arts & Crafts, Jaipur. Studied at Anglo-Bengali College, Allahabad.
2013 'A Jubilant Quest Selected Posthumous exhibitions
2013 'A Jubilant Quest for the Chromatic', presented by National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) and Akar Prakar, Kolkata at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai 2013 'The Naked and the Nude: The Body in Indian Modern Art', Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi 2012-13 'Gopal Ghose: A Jubilant Quest for the Chromatic', Birth Centenary Exhibition presented by National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi; Ministry of Culture, Government of India and Akar Prakar, Kolkata 2011 'Ethos V: Indian Art Through the Lens of History (1900 to 1980), Indigo Blue Art, Singapore 2011 ‘Manifestations VI', Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi 2011 ‘Manifestations V', Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi 2010 ‘Manifestations IV', Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi 2010 'Celebration 2010', Annual Exhibition, Kumar Art Gallery, New Delhi 2009 'Indian Art After Independence: Selected Works from the Collections of Virginia & Ravi Akhoury and Shelley & Donald Rubin', Emile Lowe Gallery, Hempstead 2005 ‘Manifestations III’, organized by Delhi Art Gallery, Mumbai & New Delhi. 2004 ‘Manifestations II’, organized by Delhi Art Gallery, Mumbai & New Delhi. 2003 ‘Manifestations’, organized by Delhi Art Gallery, Mumbai & New Delhi. 1997 On 50th anniversary of Indian Independence, The Pre-¬Independence Years, Birla Academy of Art and Culture (BAAC), Kolkata 1995 ‘Retrospective’, Private Residence, Kolkata 1995 Birla Academy of Art and Culture (BAAC), Kolkata 1987 ‘Retrospective’, Chitrakoot Art Gallery, Kolkata 1986,87 ‘Retrospective’, Art Heritage, New Delhi. 1986 ‘Trends in Bengal Art’, Commonwealth Institute, London.
Selected Solo Exhibitions :
1980 Manchester City Art Gallery, Manchester. 1952 First Solo Exhibition, No. 1 Chowringhee Terrace, Kolkata Selected Group Exhibitions 1947 All India Fine Art and Crafts Society (AIFACS), New Delhi. 1940-47, Birla Academy of Art and Culture (BAAC), Kolkata 1931 London.
1979, 80 ‘Art of Bengal: Heritage of Bangladesh and Eastern India’, White Chapel Art Gallery, London. 1950 ‘Calcutta Group & Bombay Progressive Artists' Group, No. 1 Chowringee Terrace, Kolkata Honours and Awards 1943 Founder member, Calcutta Group, Kolkata. Joint Secretary, Academy of Fine Arts (AFA), Kolkata. Traveled widely in Europe & America.