18/09/1867 - 14/02/1938




Artist Profile


He was born in Calcutta, West Bengal. He started painting rather late in his life, probably around 1905, when he was 38 years old. While in early years his painting activity is sporadic, the entire decade of 1920s is his most prolific and creative period. Yet it should be noted that he was active for nearly twenty-five years. Gaganendranath was one of the first modern painter of India. In 1867 he for the first time established the family theatre of the Tagore household called `Jurasanko Theatre`. In theatre, Gaganendranath was more involved in costume and set design as well as lighting. Gaganendranath was an impressive organizer of bringing together including the top most British colonial art minded administrators which made it possible to establish the Oriental Society of Indian Art in Calcutta, responsible for many historic art promotion activities between 1907 and 1930 attracting personalities like William Rothenstein (British artist), Pavalova (Russian dancer), Co


  • At St Xavier`s School he took brief interest in drawing and painting.
  • Gaganendranath was influenced and inspired by Japanese Art after coming in contact with Kakuzo Okakura and some other Japanese artists who came to India in 1902. He learnt the technique of brush and ink from them.
  • He was a self taught artist having no academic training in art.


  • 1908 Inaugural Exhibition: Indian Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta (Also in 1910,12).
  • 1909 Indian Society of Oriental Art Exhibition, Simla.
  • 1911 Indian Society of Oriental Art, United Provinces Exhibition, Allahabad.
  • 1911 Festival of Empire, Crystal Palace, England (Organised by Indian Society of Oriental Art for George Vs Coronation).
  • 1914 22nd Exhibition of Societe des Peintres Orientalistes Francais, Grand Palais, Paris. Travelling to Belgium, Holland and Imperial Institute, England.
  • 1915-16 Indian Society of Oriental Art Exhibition, Calcutta and Young Men`s Indian Association, Madras.
  • 1924 Travelling Exhibition, USA (organised by American Federation of Art and Indian Society of Oriental Art).
  • 1928 Exhb. at Athenee Gallery, Organised by James Cousins, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • 2004 Manifestations II, organised by Delhi Art Gallery, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai and Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi.
  • 2005 Manifestations III, organised by Delhi Art Gallery, Nehru Cen


  • Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata.
  • Bharat Kala Bhavan, Hindu University, Varanasi.
  • Indian Museum, Kolkata.
  • Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati, Santiniketan.
  • H.K.Kejriwal Collection and Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad, Bangalore.
  • National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.
  • Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
  • Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi.


Gaganendranath, through his experimental play with brush and colour, captured the charming capriciousness of refracted light. A master of beautiful geometric composition as he was Gaganendranaths work should yet be characterized not as aesthetic in absolute sense, but as emotive. His mind was on creating forms for their own sake. His cartoons reflects his treatment of the scenes of Calcutta and the funny side of the life of its citizens bear testimony to his sensibility and his power of acute observation.