Ganesh Pyne


Indian painter and draughtsman, Ganesh Pyne started his artistic journey in the city of Kolkata in West Bengal. He duly established personal style of "poetic surrealism". His works portray fantasy as well as dark imagery in their full glory.

Late Ganesh Pyne was born back in the year 1937 on the 11th of June in the city of Kolkata, the then capital of India. He breathed his last on the 12th of March in the year 2013.

His early years were spent in a precarious family mansion located in Kabiraj Row in North Calcutta. He was closest to his grandmother and grew up listening to numerous folktales from her. As a kid, he was also an avid reader who indulged in lots of children's books and magazines. These legends shaped the essence of his creative language that was about to surface in his future master works.

During his childhood, Ganesh had come across a printed drawing by Abanindranath Tagore who is the founder of Bengal school art movement. This painting overpowered his senses immensely; thereafter he began drawing contentiously on slate with chalk. Other events that changed his life were the riots preceding partition in the year 1946 and his father’s untimely death. These aching experiences scathed Pyne’s heart and soul and left a deep scar in his memories.

Education & Work

He attended college at the Government College of Art & Craft. This renowned educational body is till date allied with the esteemed Bengal School of Art. Ganesh Pyne graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from this prestigious college in the year 1959.

Thereafter, in the year 1963, he joined the Society for Contemporary Artists. Here hecame across other eminent local artists such as Dharmanarayan Dasgupta, Ganesh Haloi, Bikash Bhattacharjee and Shyamal Datta Ray.

Ganesh Pyne’s artistic career underwent a head-start in the early 1960s. He began as a book illustrator and also sketched at Mandar Mullick's studio in Kolkata. This periodof financial hardship stirred him to come up with miniaturepen-and-paper masterworks. Following this, Ganesh’s painting style was greatly influenced by Bengali folklore and mythology. But his numerous traumatic childhood events radiated clearly out of his strokes of genius.

Abanindranath Tagore remained his idol; drawing inspiration from Tagore’s works, Pyne illustrated his very first painting, the ‘Winter`s Morning’. Subsequently he started following Frans Hals’ works and Paul Klee's uncomplicated cabalism. This gave birth to Pyne’s original style of "poetic surrealism"that revolved around Bengali folklore and mythology.

By the 70s, ha has deviated towards water colors. He was in his late thirties at that time and he manifested the fuming, rioted and boisterous era of Bengal partition through hisart. 1969 witnessed Pyne as a participant at the Paris Biennale followed by the contemporary Indian Painting galleries in West Germany in 1970.Following these periods of heightened fame and appreciation Pyne’s career spanned across decades. Towards the later stage of his career, he also specialized in gouache and tempera. But he spurned limelight and art collectors alike.

Awards and Accolades

The Government of Kerala conferred him with the Raja Ravi Varma award in the year 2011. This was followed by a lifetime achievement award from the Indian Chamber of Commerce. Eminent movie maker Buddhadeb Dasgupta made a documentary film on Ganesh Pyne in 1998. This movie was titled as ‘A Painter of Eloquent Silence: Ganesh Pyne’and it was endowed with a National Film Award in the Best Art Film category.

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