BENODE BEHARI MUKHERJEE
B. 1904 - D. 1980
Benode Behari Mukherjee is one of the first students of Kala Bhavan at Shantiniketan who transformed the institution into a seminal centre in India. He was involved in exploring the rationale underlying different pictorial conventions finally bringing together the skeins of folk and Indian classical styles, Far Eastern calligraphic painting and early Renaissance conventions with post-cubist idiom.
He was born in Behala, West Bengal in 1904. Benod Behari studied at Brahmacharya Ashram and Kala Bhavan at Santiniketan. Then his visit to Japan made him learn various techniques from the Japanese masters like Sesshu and Sotatsu. He was an art teacher at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan from 1925 to 1949. He became the curator of the Govt. Museum, Nepal in 1949. In1951, he established Banasthali Vidyapith, a women’s educational center in Rajasthan. The very next year he set up an Art Center along with his wife Leela to impart training to both artists and art teachers, Mussourie. After undergoing an eye operation he lost his eyesight in 1956. After two years in 1958, he joined as a professor in the Art Theory Faculty at Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan. 1973 Biographical film, The Inner Eye, a film directed by Satyajit Ray. 1979 He wrote Chitrakar, a collection of writings in Bengali.
Benode Behari had displayed his extensive body of work in the retrospective shows at different junctures namely Benaras Retrosective in 1949 and 1964, Calcutta Retrosective in 1959 and in New Delhi in 1963 and 1969. His works were also included in the show entitled Man and Nature: Reflection of Six artists curated by Keshav Malik at National gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi in 1995 and Santiniketan: The Making of Contextual Modernism curated by Siva Kumar in 1997. He was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1974, Rabindra Puraskar and Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad award in 1980.