The 1940s present a significant moment of transformation in the linguistic choices for a painter like Gopal Ghose ; as such it would be illuminating to trace briefly the context of this shift in the shared concerns of one of the earliest artists’ collectives in early modern Indian art. The Calcutta Group was initiated in 1943, the year of infamous famine in Bengal. The eight participants of their first exhibition in 1945 were Prodosh Das Gupta, Kamala Das Gupta (nee T.C. Kamala), Gopal Ghose, Paritosh Sen, Nirode Majumdar, Subho Tagore, Rathin Maitra, and Prankrishna Pal.
[read more=”+ Read more” less=”- Read less”]In the context of the famine of 1943 and the subsequent social calamity of the 1946 communal riots, it has been evident that the conventional notion of Gopal Ghose as a painter of landscapes in a distinctly lyrical personal style combining the boldness of bright pure colours with the swift calligraphic lines, is but a partial view. That is not to deny entirely that Gopal Ghose painted landscapes that would fall within the said category. In these, the lyrical in colour and form combined with the gusto of a flourish in the calligraphic stroke of the brush to arrive at an expression that would approve the established stylistic identity of the artist. Sometimes, critics have even felt impelled to draw a comparison between the calligraphic in his paintings with Far Eastern sensibilities, which although not entirely absent exists in a sufficiently transformed ethos. Spontaneity of execution brought about in Gopal Ghose’s pictures as dynamic rhythmic flow; such flowing rhythm reflected the impulsiveness of an artist impatient to inscribe the conceived image on to the pictorial surface, thereby retaining within it a sense of emotive urgency in the very execution. And that, by definition, should qualify as expressionistic.
Born in Kolkata in 1913, the legendary Gopal Ghose was trained in the Neo-Bengal School style of Art. This avant-garde artist brilliantly mastered the unpredictable medium of watercolour, apart from being proficient in diverse media such as tempera, pen and ink and pastel. An enthusiastic traveller, he drew inspiration from various Indian cities and his love for the myriad hues of India’s climate and landscape is strongly reflected in his works. Gopal Ghose continues to dominate the pioneering spirit in Modern Indian Art.[/read]