All You Need To Know About Jogen Chowdhury And His Paintings

By | Published on May 27, 2022 | in


Painting is an art that uses ideas and emotions on paper. It is one such profession where one has to excel in the art of painting to earn recognition. There have been numerous famous painters who have made a name for themselves in painting. One such eminent person who has shot to fame by incorporating his thoughts and emotion on canvas is Jogen Chowdhury. Born in 1939, Mr. Chowdhury is one of the pioneers of world painters. He quickly shot to fame by developing his unique painting style using ink, water, color, and pastel. 

About His Early Years

Jogen inspires the young painters as all his paintings are unique. He did his initial education in painting at the Government College of Art and Craft, Kolkata, and then at Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Jogen uses color to give authenticity to the figure. Since he was born before independence, he has faced the trauma of partition.

It is for these reasons most of his paintings convey solitude and isolation. He was born in Dhaharpara village at Faridpur in Bangladesh. Both his parents were artists. Jogen and his parents shifted to Calcutta just before the partition. He stayed at his uncle’s house, where he first created his painting on a wall. He got admission to the Government College of Art and Crafts in Kolkata in 1955. Also taught in the Howrah Zila School for two years.

His Youth

Jogen went to Paris in 1965 to enhance his studies in Art and Craft. He came back in 1968 and joined as a textile designer in the handloom board in Chennai. Later he quit his job and joined the Art Gallery at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi as a curator. He also represented India at the festival of Art in Baghdad. In 1987, he joined Kala Bhavan in Santiniketan as a professor in painting.

His work

When Jogen paints or draws, he establishes a relationship with his subjects. His works which span over six decades, explore the enchantment of everyday life. Jogen Chowdhury’s paintings are over some time. It employs various subjects, styles, and mediums and includes the general drama of life. One of the main characteristics of his paintings is the portrait of man, plant, and animal life.

He uses the man-woman relationship in his paintings and the numerous components surrounding them. In the pictures, he tries to depict the fatigue that men and women undergo in their everyday lives. It also illustrates the lovers’ relationship that is no longer in its prime state.

According to Jogen, there is a necessity for the growth of understanding of art among the public. He uses objects like beds, spoons, textiles, and similar things that we employ in everyday life. Everything around us has a color that gives us pleasure when we use them. 

Some of the great works of Jogen Chowdhury are:

  • The Arts of India, by Basil Grey, Phaidon (1981)
  • Image and Imagination by Geeti Sen, Mapin (1996)
  • Jogen Chowdhury Chitrakala (Bengali), Arun Sen (1996)
  • Major Trends in Indian Art, Lalit Kala Akademi (1997)
  • The Flamed Mosaic, Indian Contemporary Painting by Neville Neville Tuli, HEART (1997)
  • Dreams 1900-2000, edited by Lynn Gamwell, Cornell University Press (2000)
  • When Was Modernism, by Gaeta Kapur, Tulika (2000)
  • Indian Art, by Partha Mitter, Oxford (2001)
  • A Special Issue on Jogen Chowdhury (Bengali), Nandimukh Publication (2002)
  • Contemporary Art of Bengal, Mapin (2003)
  • Indian Art: An Overview, edited by Gayatri Sinha, Rupa & Co. (2003)
  • Ten Contemporary Artists of Bengal (Bengali) Pratikshan (2003)
  • Jogen Chowdhury Enigmatic Visions published by Glenbarra Art Museum (2006)

The Inspiration 

From the beginning of his practice, Jogen realized that he had a unique ability to see and feel an object or human figure. He had an inborn talent to visualize them from a different perspective angle. It played an essential role in drawing the formation of a human or any visual object. Soon he developed a new style in his artwork. He started crosshatching his paintings using pen and ink while in the Art College.

He started working on it in a very casual manner. However, he finally created the technique in his profession while making the paintings on paper, pastels, and watercolor. He started the unique procedure from 1968-to 1969 when he created a series of paintings on paper called ‘Reminiscences of Dream’ in Madras. Since then, there has been no stopping back. He did numerous works based on unique techniques. Some of his significant artwork like Tiger in the Moonlit Night, Life –II, Man 1980, Her Silver Throne, Wounded, and many more are examples of his unique work.

Awards and honor

Throughout his entire career, Jogen has been outstanding in his artwork. He is an inspiration to the young students of the present timeline. Following are the awards and honors, Jogen:

  • He was awarded with the Prix le France de la Jeune Peinture, in Paris (1966).
  • In 1995, he was awarded at the International Print Biennale in Bhopal.
  • He was honored at the 2nd Biennale of Havana in Cuba (1986).
  • Also, honored by the prestigious Kalidas Samman by the Madhya Pradesh Government in 2001.
  • He received the Banga Bhushan award from the West Bengal Government in 2012.
  • An honorary D. Litt by the Rabindra Bharati University (2010).
  • In 2016, he was Honored by the Zainul Samman by the Dhaka University, Bangladesh.

In 2016, Jogen started an art magazine, ArtEast, and in 2019, he opened a museum dedicated to the visual arts. The five-story ‘Charubasona, named the Jogen Chowdhury Centre for Arts,’ depicts a wealth of his artworks. You will find his painting that dates back to his childhood days, representing how Jogen evolved as an artist.

His Present timeline

Jogen, who is now in his 80s, lives and works in Shantiniketan in West Bengal. Many emerging and talented artists visit him frequently. He regularly interacts with the art students and helps them find their distinct styles. He is a true inspiration to budding artists.

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