The contribution of the first renaissance capital of the country – Bengal – to Indian art and its development is longstanding, enormous and continued. As one of the largest repositories of Bengal art of the past two centuries, DAG Modern is extremely pleased to bring its seminal exhibition The Art of Bengal to New York from December 9, 2016 - March 15, 2017. Collating, appraising and re-evaluating the sheer mass of art from Bengal that has strongly influenced Indian art, but particularly the exhibition features over a hundred works – perhaps one of the largest exhibits of the art from Bengal held under one roof in New York.
Documenting the unique cultural efflorescence in Bengal that began over two centuries ago, the exhibition begins in the 19th century when local, folk artists began creating their paintings on mythological and religious themes traditionally done on cloth and later on paper, known as Kalighat pats, featuring a set of relatively large works. The heights of excellence the academic paintings achieved in Bengal is reflected in the works by Hemendranath Majumdar and Kisory Roy while the dreamy, romantic imagery of the Bengal School is showcased through its masters, Asit Haldar, Kshitinidranath Majumdar, Sarada Ukil or R. Vijaiwargiya. The exhibition showcases the rich diversity and depth of modernist art from Bengal, featuring artists such as Somnath Hore, scultpors Ramkinkar Baij and Prodosh Das Gupta, Chittaprosad, Rabin Mondal, Bikash Bhattacharjee, Jogen Chowdhury, Nikhil Biswas, Bijan Choudhary, and others, as well as those claiming allegiance to an older Bengal order, such as Bireswar Sen.
With ‘Bengal’ as the connecting thread, this exhibition – mammoth in scale – features artists not merely claiming ancestry to Bengal but those vitally nurtured in its cultural climate such as K. G. Subramanyan. Bengal’s cultural and intellectual climate, together with its artistic imagination continues to exert a great pull on contemporary Indian art – this exhibition is a tribute as much as a celebration.
The exhibition opens at DAG Modern on December 10, 2016, and will remain on view through the second week of March 2017.