Mukul Dey

Topics: Rabindranath Tagore, India, Santiniketan Pages: 3 (1011 words) Published: June 21, 2013
Mukul Chandra Dey (1895-1989) — better known as Mukul Dey — was an important personality of his time. A student of Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan School during the early years of the 20th century (c. 1906-1912), he left his mark as a pioneer of drypoint-etching in India. An extremely sensitive artist (perhaps temperamental at times), he chose an essentially Western medium to depict subjects of Indian life and legends from a common man’s viewpoint. The river scenes of Bengal, the baul singers, the bazaars of Calcutta or the life of Santhal villages in Birbhum — all these attracted his attention and he recorded his vision with deep feeling and a rare sureness of hand. Mukul Dey is also remembered for his superbly executed portraits of the rich and the famous — the Tagores, Albert Einstein, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Sven Hedin, the Tatas Drypoint portrait of Abanindranath Tagore by Mukul Dey, c. 1937. Original print signed in pencil by Tagore bottom left corner, both in Roman and Bengali script. Artist’s signature and seal on bottom right corner. The seal impression depicts Lord Vishnu’s foot-marks Photo: Mukul Dey Archivesand many more. Coming from a family that had seen difficult times, he had to learn his skills well for his survival. He states in My Reminiscences, “In 1918, I realised a long cherished dream by visiting the Ajanta Caves. I at once made up my mind to copy the frescos but as I had no money, I had to travel to various cities of southwestern India drawing portraits of rich men and selling my work for a few rupees only.” Mukul Dey deserves to be remembered not only as an important practicing artist but also as an art collector. Passionately interested in the various forms of folk arts and crafts, as well as the works of his contemporary Neo-Bengal School artists, he was an intrepid collector and promoter of their creations. During his tenure as the first Indian principal of Government School of Arts, Calcutta (1928-1943), Mukul Dey organized at...
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