Kshitindranath Majumdar ক্ষিতীন্দ্রনাথ মজুমদার (1891 - 1975 AD)

Eminent Artist Kshitindranath Majumdar ক্ষিতীন্দ্রনাথ মজুমদার was Born on 31 July, 1891 AD (BS 1298 ১২৯৮, ১৫ শ্রাবন) in a remote village of Murshidahad, West Bengal called Jagtai (জগতাই) situated on the banks of Ganges. At his infancy when he was only one year old He lost his mother. Kshitindranath grew up nurtured by his affectionate father Kedarnath Majumdar who played an unique and crucial role in guiding Kshitindranath. Kedarnath Majumdar worked as a Sub-Registrar, and had great interest in Music and drama. He also had his own Yatra dal (drama group). During his childhood Kshitindranath used to act in various roles, in this Yatra dal. Kshitindranath grew up independent, and his passionate and sensitive mind sometimes got lost in his aesthetic universe (Bhava-Lok). After completing class 6 in Jagtai Zamindari school he took admission at Pakur High School (at that time it was in Bihar) 12 miles away from his home. He stayed there at the school hostel and on Saturdays, he returned home walking. Again on Monday he used to leave home early in the morning.

On advice from Zamindar Mahendra Narayan Roy (মহেন্দ্র নারায়ন রায় চৌধুরি) of Nimtita (a village near Jagtai), in 1905 Kshitindranath joined the Government School of Art at Kolkata, where he studied under the tutelage of Abanindranath Tagore (অবনীন্দ্রনাথ ঠাকুর), and Percy Brown as the Principal. Mahendra Narayan was the founder of the Nimtita Hindu Theater in 1897 AD (BS 1304). Kshitindranath's gratitute towads Mahendra Narayan was expressed in a letter written by him to Sree Radhanath (younger son of Sree Mahendra Narayan) in 1954 AD, where he says that "If God has given me any fame then it is because of Mahendra Narayan, who convinced my father to admit me at Government School of Art at Kolkata". Between 1912 and 1930, Majumdar served as an art teacher and then the principal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art in Kolkata, and later, from 1942-1964, he held the same position in at Allahabad University.
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The Tagore School of Painting, popularly known as Bengal School of Painting, occupies the most exalted position in the history of modern Indian art. Sri Kshitindranath Majumdar was one of the most brilliant luminaries of this school. Kshitindranath carried on the trend of revivalism that Abanindranath started, with some deviations. His figures, their idyllic settings and colours convey his own stylistic talents. He was famous for his depiction of mythological and religious subjects. Many of such works reveal his extraordinary power of expression inspired by his personal understanding of religious concepts of 'Bhakti'. The paintings of Kshitindranath have a universal appeal and are capable of providing us aesthetic pleasure of a very high order by means of their suggestively and evocativeness, In most of his drawings and paintings, Majumdar referred to mythological and religious subjects. He was greatly influenced by Sri Chaitanya's Vaisnavism, as well as Abanindranath Tagore’s revivalist movement. An accomplished singer of songs from Sri Krishna Leela, He also took training in hymn-singing from Navadeep Braja Bashi. Kshitindranath painted many scenes from the life of the medieval Vaisnava Saint Chaitanya. In his paintings "line and tone blended, often to contribute to delicate and supple figure drawing combined with the sharpness and precision of Mughal miniature drawings. Such spatial compositions with fine outlined drawing, detailed ornamentation, and highly mannered postures and expressions became typical of most of the paintings of Mazumdar" - [ T. Guha-Thakurta, The Making of a New Indian Art, Cambridge, 1992 ].

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Exhibitions

A solo exhibition of Majumdar’s work was organized by J. Cousins in 1928 at the Athene Gallery in Geneva, Switzerland. His works have also been featured in several group exhibitions, including three retrospectives held in Varanasi in 1964 and 1949, and in Kolkata in 1963; a traveling exhibition in the United States, organized by the American Federation of Art, in 1924; and the 22nd Exhibition of the Societe des Peintres Orientalistes Francais, Paris, which then travelled to England, Belgium and the Netherlands.
1908 AD Inaugural Exhibition Indian Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta (Also in 1910, 12).
1909 AD Indian Society of Oriental Art Exhibition Simla
1911 AD Indian Society of Oriental Art, United Provincess Exhibition Allahabad
1914 AD 22nd Exhibition of Societe des Peintres Orientalistes Fran?oise, Grand Palais, Paris.
Exhibited at Festival of Empire, Crystal Palace, Organised by Indian Society of Oriental Art, for King George V Coronation, England.
Travelling Exhibition to Belgium, Holland.
Travelling Exhibition in USA, Organised by American Federation of Art.
1915-16 AD Indian Society of Oriental Art Exhibition Calcutta & Young Men's Indian Association, Madras.
1928 AD Exhibition organised by J.Cousins, Athene Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland.
1949 AD Retrospective, Varanasi (Also in 1964).
1963 AD Retrospective, Calcutta.
2003 AD Manifestations, organised by Delhi Art Gallery, World Trade Center, Mumbai and Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi.
2004 AD Manifestations II, organised by Delhi Art Gallery, Jeha.

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Collections

  1. Indian Museum, Kolkata.
  2. Allahabad Museum, Allahabad.
  3. Benaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
  4. National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.
  5. Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.
  6. Lalit Kala Akademi, Luchnow.
  7. Allahabad Museum, Allahabad.
  8. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
  9. Ronaldshay, London.
  10. Jane and Kito de Boer, Dubai.
  11. Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi.

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Awards

1905 AD Awarded a monthly scholarship of Rs.20 in the first year of college, Govt. School of Art, Calcutta.
1963 AD Felicitated with Merit Award, Bengal Congress Committee, Calcutta. Awarded honorary D. Litt, Rabindra Bharati University, Calcutta.

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Kshitindranath Majumdar Paintings

Kshitindranath was of a quiet, devout temperament and was steeped in Vaishnavite lore, poetry and song. In his rendering of the Radha-Krishna theme, Majumdar avoided the erotic and concentrated more on episodes in the life of Chaitanya, the Vashnavite saint. His compositions had an ideal simplicity. The figures are draped in long flowing garments which develop a slow rhythm in their folds, and fall with a greater but still discreetly decorative rhythmic acceleration at the borders. The figures are slender and elongated and their attitudes and gestures are less contrived than in generally the case in Revivalist paintings.

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Last Days

Kshitindranath Majumdars sensibility remained pastoral throughout, never becoming urbanite though he lived in cities most of his life. He was the Art Teacher and Principal of the school at the Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta for 18 years and then went to the Allahabad University in 1942 (as Principal of Art Department), where he taught till his retirement in 1964. Kshitindranath Majumdar passed away on 9 February, 1975 AD, survived by his two son Rathindra Nath Majumdar (রথীন্দ্রনাথ মজুমদার), Madhabendu Majumdar (মাধবেন্দু মজুমদার) and a Daughter.

References :
  Sant Artist Kshitindra Nath Majumdar
  • History of Indian Painting : The Modern Period - By Kirshna Chatanya
  • The Triumph of Modernism : India's Artists and the Avant-Garde, 1922-1947 - By Partha Mitter
  • Shilpisadhak Kshitindranath - Mahan Silpi mohattar Jibon - By Jibendra Krishna Goswami
  • Delhi Art Gallery Pvt. Ltd.

Page Updated : November 26, 2016 09:58 pm