Bikash Bhattacharya is credited with bringing realism back to Indian art at a time when artists in India were leaning more towards distortion of figures and abstraction. Besides painting the city and its people that he knew so well, Bhattacharjee was an accomplished portrait painter. Realism was Bhattacharjee’s forte; his oil paintings could depict the exact quality of drapery or the skin tone of a woman. He achieved mastery in capturing the quality of light.
Bhattacharjee achieved an enigmatic quality in his paintings that works on many levels from the visual to the subconscious. Subject matter included depictions of the female form, and people of all ages and situations—old men and women, children, domestic help. He had the ability to create an authentic milieu as a background to the characters to heighten the drama.
Bikash had been deeply influenced by the surrealists, and stated that Salvador Dalí was his favourite painter.
About the Artist and his work :
Born : Bikash Bhattacharjee was born in Kolkata 1940.
At a very early age he lost his father. The consequent struggle for survival left him with a deep sense of insecurity as well as an empathy for the under-privileged, who often feature in his works. In 1963, he graduated with a Diploma in Fine Arts from Indian College of Art and Draftsmanship.
Teaching Career :
Bhattacharjee taught at Indian College of Art and Draftsmanship from 1968 to 1972. He taught at the Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata from 1973 to 1982. In 1964, he became a member of the Society of Contemporary Artists.
Solo Exhibition : His first solo exhibition was at Kolkata in 1965.
Group Shows :
2016 – Dag Modern, New York, The Art of Bengal
2016 – Akara Art, Mumbai, Mysteries of the Organism
2015 – Dag Modern, New York, The Naked and the Nude: The Body in Indian Modern Art
2015 – Dag Modern, Mumbai, India Modern – Narratives from 20th Century Indian Art
2013 – Christie’s South Asian & Chinese, South Asian Contemporary & Modern
His paintings were exhibited outside India; he had shows in 1969 at Paris; between 1970 and 72 in Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Romania and Hungary; in London in 1982; and in New York in 1985.
1962 – Recipient, Academy of Fine Art Award, Kolkata
1971 – National Award, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
1987 – Recipient, Banga Ratna, New Delhi
1988 – Recipient, Padma Shri, New Delhi
1989 – Shiromani Purashkar
1990 – Nivedita Purashkar, Ramkrishna Vivekananda Ashram
2003 – He was awarded the highest award of Lalit Kala Akademi, India’s National Academy of Arts, the Lalit Kala Akademi Fellowship.
In 2000, Bhattacharjee suffered a paralytic stroke that left him paralysed and unable to paint. He died in a Kolkata nursing home on 18 December 2006 following a prolonged illness.