Sunil Madhav Sen, as a founder member
of the Calcutta Group – India 's first avowedly ‘modernist'
school of painters – was one of the architects of the
contemporary art movement in India . His search for a
modernist language in art, led him to experiment with
both Western and indigenous styles, and to eventually
develop his own creative idiom. His passage from academic
naturalism to Indian folk tradition via European cubistic
and expressionistic features and his organic synthesis
of all these elements evolves in his work into a truly
personal interpretation of Indian ‘modernity'.
His art encompasses a huge expressive spectrum, from
simple linear depictions, ink and wash techniques and
relief paintings in mosaic, to metal collage; and from
serene landscapes, ebullient nudes, and decorative
mythological portrayals of nymphs, Gods and frolicking
Urvashis, to figures from daily life, and dramatically
modern interpretations of a fish or a musician.
Sometimes his compositions are adorned
with an exuberance of fresco-like detail, but his method
being not ‘mimesis' but personal vision, even conventional
themes acquire a singular life and a wonderful sense
of movement. Some of his works exude a sculptural quality,
and some conceptualizations reflect a startlingly radical ‘modernity'.
All his work however bears the impress of his singularly
vivacious personality and mirrors his great love and
enjoyment of life.
In the words of Dr. Klaus Fischer “The
expression of the Eastern mind is not by copying Ajanta,
Ellura and other glories of the past, but by adding
new moderns … Marvelous nude compositions by Sunil
Madhav Sen prove that there are forms of International
understanding in modern imaginative art.”
About the Artist
Born: Purulia, West Bengal , 1910
Education: Basically self-taught.
At the age of nine, learned drawing from a local drawing
teacher. Diploma, City College , Calcutta University
1993. Graduated in Law and started legal practice 1938.
Visited studios of Abanindranath Tagore, Jamini Prakash
Gangooly, Atul Bose and Satish Sinha, received lessons
and encouragement from them. For over two years he
worked in the studio of Hemen Majumdar, where he completed
his apprenticeship in portrait painting.
Many Solo shows in India and abroad. Group exhibitions
in Tokyo , Brussels , Newcastle , New York , Sydney
, Perth .
- 1957 Artistry House, Calcutta
- 1961 Hofstra College , New York
- 1963 Gallery Everest, Calcutta
- Gallery Chemould, Bombay .
- 1993 Retrospective, Birla Academy
of Art and Culture, Calcutta .