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Painting - Dancing Lady

Dancing Lady

  • Object:

    Painting

  • Place of origin:

    Calcutta, India (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1945 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Roy, Jamini (Mr), born 1887 - died 1972 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in gouache on canvas

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Sir Frank Roberts

  • Museum number:

    IS.102-1999

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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Jamini Roy (1887-1972) was one of the most important artists of the modern period in India, drawing on the popular and folk traditions of rural Bengal for his inspiration.
He developed his own personal style which was characterised by bold lines and flat use of colour. He used indigenous materials, including lamp black for the outline drawing, 7 basic colours (Indian red, yellow ochre, cadmium green, vermilion, grey, blue and white), which he applied with organic tempera, earth and mineral pigments to homemade canvas spun with fabric. His paintings can be divided into three main themes: the everyday life of rural Bengal, particularly the women of the aboriginal Santhal community, Hindu mythological subjects and Christian imagery.

The work depicts an elaborate female figure in a dance pose.Whilst colour has been applied in a flat manner, the artist would seem to have created the illusion of two-dimensionality, by painting the head of the figure outside the frame. The dynamism of the composition is achieved by the figure's bent knee, by her raised right arm and by her open palm which is directed towards the viewer. The style of the painting is typical of Jamini Roy and the much documented influence of Kalighat painting on his work is evident here.

Physical description

The work, painted in gouache on canvas. depicts an elaborate female figure in a dance pose which fills the entire frame of the painting, from her fingertip in the top left hand side to her fee in the bottom right-hand side. Her face is in profile, with her long fish-shaped eye looking to her left-hand side. Her upper body and her wide hips are accentuated by her tiny waist which is wrapped in a simple costume. She wears ornaments in her hair and is surrounded by random flowers; in the bottom left-hand corner we notice a plant growing. The figure's body is framed by a rectangular outline of ochre paint followed by an outline of black paint; the body is executed in a muted green tone and the background is in red.The dynamism of the composition is achieved by the figure's bent knee and by her raised right arm. The figure opens the palm of her left hand to the viewer; her body is framed in rectangular boards coloured in ochre and black paint.

Place of Origin

Calcutta, India (made)

Date

ca. 1945 (made)

Artist/maker

Roy, Jamini (Mr), born 1887 - died 1972 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in gouache on canvas

Marks and inscriptions

Signature in Bengali on right hand side.

Dimensions

Height: 77.7 cm, Width: 57.8 cm, Height: 81.1 cm With frame, Width: 61.8 cm With frame, Depth: 5 cm With frame

Object history note

The painting was purchased by Sir Frank Roberts, Deputy High Commissioner in Delhi (1949-51) from Roy himself. He and his wife visited the artist in 1950-51. Roy was interested in showing them his European landscapes and only when pushed did he reluctantly show them some of his earlier work. This painting was one of a few that were in Roy's house 'tucked away gathering dust' as noted by Sir Frank in a letter. (see RF: 1998/374).

Historical context note

Jamini Roy (1887-1972) was one of the most important artists of the modern period in India, drawing on the popular and folk traditions of rural Bengal for his inspiration. Born in Beliator, a village in the Bankura district of Bengal, Jamini was raised in a family of small landowners.

In 1906 he entered the Calcutta School of Art and studied under Abanindranath Tagore, the pioneer and leading exponent of the Bengal School of Art. Abanindranath's tutorage secured Jamini's dexterity both in European and indigenous painting traditions. For a short period Jamini became a portrait painter, a skill for which he was highly regarded in Calcutta. He then experimented with Impressionistic landscapes before rejecting his European training in favour of indigenous art forms.

Initially Jamini adopted the Kalighat style of painting, a popular art form with origins in the rural traditions of Bengal, but found thriving in the back streets of Calcutta. However by the 1920s, Jamini felt that Kalighat paintings had lost their rural ideal having being adapted too much to fit the requirements of their new urban environment. Jamini sought to define an authentic modern Indian art; he therefore travelled through Bengali countryside studying folk painting traditions. He developed his own personal style which was characterised by bold lines and flat use of colour. He used indigenous materials, including lamp black for the outline drawing, 7 basic colours (Indian red, yellow ochre, cadmium green, vermilion, grey, blue and white), which he applied with organic tempera, earth and mineral pigments to homemade canvas spun with fabric. His paintings can be divided into three main themes: the everyday life of rural Bengal, particularly the women of the aboriginal Santhal community, Hindu mythological subjects and Christian imagery.

Jamini was a supporter of the Indian independence movement and his search for an authentic modern India was a response to this. Part of his search involved the restoration of the collaborative indigenous artisanal labour model. Thus, in his workshop he produced a range of stock motifs which his apprentices then copied- all were signed with his name. This increased the production and dissemination of original works which were then affordable to a wider body of people, not just the rich. Jamini gained an international reputation during the 1940s; his work was exhibited in London in 1946 and in New York in 1953.

Descriptive line

Painting, Dancing Lady, by Jamini Roy, gouache on canvas, Kolkata, ca. 1945

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Partha Mitter, The Triumph of Modernism India' artists and the avant-garde 1922-1947, London, 2007
W.G.Archer, India and Modern Art, London, 1959

Materials

Paint; Gouache; Canvas

Techniques

Painted

Subjects depicted

Woman; Dance

Categories

Paintings

Collection code

SSEA

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Qr_O11830
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