Jogen Chowdhury

mixed media on paper
11 x 9.5 in. (27.9 x 24.1 cm.)
painted in 1996
Winning Bid: $ 22,000
Estimate: US$ 20,000 - 30,000
Lot Closed

Lot Details

Signed twice in Bengali and English and dated 'Jogen 96' (upper right)

Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai

Jogen Chowdhury is known for his ability to successfully merge traditional imagery with contemporary flavors, he masterfully blends worldly self-awareness and local influence in an autobiographical narrative producing work that are universal yet strangely reminiscent of an indigenous spirit. With imagery drawn from his cultural background more than his intellectual province, the Bengali influence serves an integral component of the nature and style of his paintings.

During the 1970s, while developing his own unique artistic style and language, Chowdhury began to include references to popular visual culture to comment on the complexities and contradictions of the society during that period. It was also during this time that he began to incorporate deities within his works. The artist reported that his representation of Ganesha is meant to represent political satire and commentary rather than the god himself.

In the painting, Chowdhury plays on the popular characterization of the elephant god Ganesha. Depicted sitting centrally almost spilling out of the frame, he is holding a flower on the right hand. Like the general depiction of the god, he is shown having the head of an elephant with a single tusk and a large belly sitting cross-legged with one leg touching the ground and the other resting on his knee. The artist portrays the figure using powerful fluid lines, tightened with cross-hatching and touches of colours, rendered against a black background typical with his style. The black background draws attention to the image itself while the cross-hatching in ink builds up surface quality and sensitivity vital to the picture. With his distinctive style, mastery of lines and careful distortion of the form, Chowdhury imparts the air of caricature in his figures while keeping the indigenous sensibilities and the nuances of characterization in the painting.

Jogen Chowdhury

(b. 1939)
Born in 1939 in erstwhile Bengal, now Bangladesh, Jogen Chowdhury studied at Government College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata, the Studio Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. His most recent solo exhibitions include ‘Jogen Chowdhury: Formative to Recent’, Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata, in 2014; ‘Lignes de Meditation’, Gallery Veda, Chennai, in 2012-13; ‘A Calligraphy of Touch and Gaze’ by Kalakriti Art Gallery at ICIA, Mumbai, in 2008; Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, in 2007; the Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata, in 2006; and Bose Pacia, New York, in 2002. Chowdhury’s works have been exhibited in several group shows including ‘Ideas of the Sublime’, presented by Vadehra Art Gallery at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, in 2013; ‘Figure / Landscape: Part Two’, Aicon Gallery, London, in 2010-11; ‘Dali’s Elephant’, Aicon Gallery, London, ‘Paper Trails’, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, ‘Pretty Ugly’, Bose Pacia, Kolkata, ‘Image and symbol: Painters Perception’, Aakrit Art Gallery, Kolkata, in 2010; ‘Modern Continuous’, Galerie 88, Kolkata, in 2009; ‘Inverting, Inventing, Traditions’, Grosvenor Vadehra, London, in 2007; Drawing Show an Act of Art II’, Priyasri Art Gallery, Mumbai, in 2006; those by Saffronart and Pundole Art Gallery, New York, in 2002 and 2001; the ‘Festival of India’ Geneva, in 1989; the II Havana Biennale, in 1986; and the Sao Paulo Biennale, in 1979. He was awarded the Kalidas Samman by the Madhya Pradesh State Government in 2001, the Shiromani Award, Kolkata, in 1997, and the Prix le France de la Jeune Peinture in 1966. The artist lives and works in Shantiniketan, West Bengal.