Nandalal Bose works to go on show in US

By Madhusree Chatterjee, IANS

New Delhi : The works of Nandalal Bose, one of the early pioneers of the illustrious Bengal School, will leave the Asian shores for the first time on a journey to the US later this month, nearly 42 years after his death.

The collection, "Rhythms of India: Art of Nandalal Bose (1882-1996)", featuring 100 of Bose's finest works, will be showcased at the San Diego Museum of Art from Feb 23, it was announced here Tuesday.

This is the first time the Indian government has allowed Nandalal Bose's works to leave Asia. Earlier, some of his works had been showcased in Japan.

It is an initiative between the New Delhi-based National Gallery of Modern Art, Ministry of Culture, Government of India and the San Diego Museum of Art.

The collection is a tribute to 60 years of the country's Independence and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi Jan 30, 1948, seven months after India was freed from British rule in 1947. Bose was the only artist Gandhi patronised during his lifetime because of his portrayal of an independent rural India.

Sonya Quintanilla, curator of Asian art at the San Diego Museum, told IANS: "This is a special collaboration. The collection will be a value-addition to the museum's rich repertoire of South Asian art featuring more than 1,400 art works, mostly miniature Indian paintings from 11th to 19th century, known as the Edwin Binney's third collection. It is one of the largest and the most important collection of South Asian paintings outside Asia."

The exhibition, said culture ministry officials, reveals how Bose contributed to the success of India's non-violent struggle for Independence through his association with Mahatma Gandhi. Covering all his experimental styles and media, it will be on display in San Diego till May 18.

Thereafter, the "travelling show will briefly touch base" at the Philadelphia Museum early July to Aug 31 on the East Coast and the Art Institute of Chicago from May 31 to Aug 31, 2009. It will then return home to the National Gallery of Modern Art.

"A body of his work had earlier travelled to Japan, but this is the first time he is going to the West. His paintings are very spirited that speak of a link between him, Rabindranath Tagore and the larger Indian art perspective. He had evolved a language of his own, whose impact was very wide," Rajiv Lochan, director of the National Gallery of Modern Art, told IANS.

Born in Bihar, India, in 1882, Bose spent most of his life in Bengal as a pan-Asian artist and teacher. Bose became the head of the Kala Bhavan, the department of fine arts at Shantiniketan founded by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
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