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Artist Profile
Ganesh Pyne – “I am only whole when I am painting”
It was a crumbling mansion in Kabiraj Row that was immolated during the Calcutta riots that preceded the partition of India, in the summer of 1946. It was a turning point in his life that left a deep mark in his psyche. That was the time when Pyne first came face to face with death. Dead bodies strewn across the streets of Calcutta conjured up some harrowing images that constantly reverberate in his paintings where death is a very poignant theme. Time and again it surfaces in the form of symbolism and imagery painted in various shades of blue and black. Along with Sunil Das and Bikash Bhattacharya, Ganesh was the most expensive artist of India. In 1955 Ganesh joined Government College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata. During that time admission into the college was tough, however he not only managed to gain admission in the college but also his paintings so impressed the college authorities that he was straightaway promoted to the second year.
In 1963, he joined the Society for Contemporary Artists. During that period he made small drawings in pen and ink because he did not have enough money then to buy color. Pyne was very fond of Abanindranath Tagore’s paintings; Rembrandt, Walt Disney and Paul Klee were amongst others who drew his attention. Initially, Pyne painted watercolors and sketches of misty mornings and wayside temples because of the aforementioned influences; however his signature style was shaped from his own gruesome experiences of life solitude and alienation, pain, horror and moods of tenderness and serenity which more often than not come alive in his paintings. Pyne was equally passionate about cinema which is why he drew inspirations from the films of Fellini and Bergman. Pyne is heralded as the first exponents of the Bengal school of art. He passed away on March 12, 2013.

Sandip Pal
Copywriter, ICIA