1871 - 1951




Artist Profile


He was born in Calcutta, West Bengal. Born in an aristocratic family, he was richly endowed with literary and artistic talent. Abanindranath was among the first Indian artists to address issues of culture specificity and modernism. He began his career in the emergent years of Swadeshi movement and was an apologist for nationalist revivalist art. The fame of Abanindranath as the reviver of Indian tradition and founder of a new movement, is in no way less than that of Abanindranath, the artist. He made a name in literature long before he established his fame in art. He studied the canons of aesthetics and had written on `Sadanga`. 1907 Established Indian Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta. And he wrote books like Bharata-Silpa Parichaya; Sakuntala (1895); Raj-Kahini (1905); Kshirer Putul; Bhupatir Desh (1915); Nalaka (1916); Banglar Brata (1919); Bageswari Lectures on Art (1919); Khajanchir khata (1921); Budo Angla (1941) etc. He also wrote jatras (folk drama)


  • Studied at Govt. School of Art and Craft, Calcutta.
  • Private Tutors: Olinto Gilhardi & Charles Palmer.
  • Pursuing his increasing interest in Japanese painting, he learnt the Art of Japanese brushwork under Yokoyama Taikan.


  • 1900 Govt. School of Art and Craft Exhb., Calcutta.
    American Federation of Art, USA.
  • 1908 Inaugural Exhibition Indian Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta (Also in 1910,12).
  • 1911 Indian Society of Oriental Art, United Provinces Exhibition Allahabad .
  • Festival of Empire, organised by Indian Society of Oriental Art, for George V`s Coronation, Crystal Palace, England.
  • 1914 22nd Exhb. of Societe des Peintres Orientalistes Francois, Grand Palais, Paris, travelling to Belgium, Holland and Imperial Institute, England.
  • 1915-16 Indian Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta and Young Mens Indian Association, Madras.
  • 1924 Travelling Exhb. USA, organised by American Federation of Art & Indian Society of Oriental Art.
  • 1928 Exhb. at Athenee Gallery, organised by James Cousins, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • 1996 An exhb. of Abanindranath`s work, Nandan Gallery, Santiniketan.
  • 2003 Manifestations, organised by Delhi Art Gallery, World Trade Center, Mumbai and Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Collection, Windsor Castle, England. Indian Museum, Kolkata. National Gallery Modern Art, New Delhi. Oriental and India Office Library and Records, London. Rabindra Bharati University Museum, Kolkata. Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Lahore Museum, Lahore. Bangalore Museum, Bangalore. P.N Tagore, Kolkata. Mukul Ch. Dey, Kolkata. Sailendranath Dey, Jaipur. O.C. Ganguli, Kolkata. Roopkrishna, Lahore. Samarendranath Gupta, Lahore. Asit K. Haldar, Lucknow. Vishnupada Roy Chowdhury, Howrah.


In the paintings of Abanindranath we for the first time discover an aesthetic quality rare in contemporary works. He retained a realistic base and modified it with selective assimilations of Mughal, Japanese and Persian elements. Style is the chief attraction in Abanindranath`s literary as well as pictorial compositions; the most important point in them being, how he tells in the one and how he shows in the other. He mainly used the wash technique. Colours are flat with suggestion of space finished with line.