Sunil Das

(1939 - 2015) One of India’s important post-modernist painters, Sunil Das rose to prominence with his drawing of horses. Das came from a middle class family and his father was just a small businessman. After school, he decided to become a painter and joined a local art school. A French art scholarship with the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts took him to Europe. It was in the course of his travels that he chanced to spend a few months in Spain, where he developed his passion for horses and bulls. Das’ paintings have also been influenced by his study of sculpture at Santiniketan, Kolkata, and his study of graphic art in Paris. His paintings have a kind of structure and rigidity that one would typically find in sculpture and in the etchings of graphic art. They not only express the physical attributes of his subjects but also their associative ones. Every once in a while he paints human beings, but his depiction of the human anatomy is skewed, to a point that it almost borders on macabre surrealism. Das has the distinction of being the only Indian artist to have won a National Award (the Shiromani Kala Puraskar) while still an undergraduate at the Government College of Art and Craft, Kolkata. Besides having been featured in several exhibitions, his works are also a part of the collections of renowned museums such as the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, the Glenbarra Art Museum, Japan, and the Ludwig Museum, Germany.