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Nepal Landscape 1950.jpg

Benode Behari Mukherjee - Biography*

1904                 Born in Behala, near Calcutta (now Kolkata)


1917    Enrols as a student at the school in Santiniketan

1919    Joins as one of the first students at Kala Bhavan as soon as it opens this year

1920    Paints his first mural on his hostel room walls

1921    He continues to make murals on the hostel walls with his contemporaries

1923    Assists Nandalal Bose in the making of his murals in the old library building

1924    Paints murals in 16 niches of the Santhoshalaya building, depicting Santhal life

1925    Joins Santiniketan as a teacher after completing his studies. Goes on to being in charge of the library and museum at Kala Bhavan

1929    Becomes a full-fledged teacher at Kala Bhavan

1934    Exhibits his works in the Kala Bhavan group show at the Congress House, Madras, October 26-31.

1936    Visits Japan, and exhibits at Horeganji temple, Tsukiji, Tokyo, organised by Nippon Cultural Federation, Nippon Bunka Renmeii, April 26-28.

1937    Assists Nandalal Bose in Haripura Congress pavilion

1938    Exhibits at group show of Kala Bhavan, organized by the Santiniketan Ashramik Sangha.

1944    Marries Leela Mansukhani

            Exhibits with Ramkinkar at the YMCA, New Delhi, October 18-21.

1946    Exhibits his landscapes and flower studies in Calcutta, organised by Ashramik Sangha,March.

            Begins work on the Hindi Bhavan mural

1947    Completes Hindi Bhavan mural

            Visits Najibabad in summer

            Visits Bombay, meets artists Ara, Hebbar and Bendre of The Progressive Artists’ Group.

1948    Visits Ahemdabad, Baroda and Jaipur

            Exhibits at the Savoy Hotel in Mussourie, June 22-25.

            Leaves Santiniketan for Nepal to join as curator at the Nepal Government Museum in Kathmandu, October.

1949    Riten Mazumdar, K.V.Varma and Leela Mukherjee visit him in Kathmandu

            Daughter, Mrinalini was born

1950    Paints murals at Banasthali in Rajasthan

            Leaves Nepal before the revolt in Nepal for Patna

            Exhibits works produced in Nepal in Patna, along with works by Leela Mukherjee and Riten Mazhumdar, at the

            Hindi Sahitya Sammelan Bhavan. The exhibition travels to Saniniketan and Calcutta. In Santiniketan the works of

            Ramkinkar made in Nepal during a visit is also exhibited alongside his.

1951    Travels to Saniniketan en route to Banaras and Banasthali, exploring the possibility of setting up an art and craft centre in one of the two places.Settles in Mussoorie, in October

1952    Establishes Art and Craft Centre in Mussoorie

1953    Possibly visited Ahmedabad

            Exhibits his works at Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay, organised by Bombay branch of Saniniketan Asramik Sangha, December 14-20.   Catalogue essay by Stella Kramrisch

1954    Invites to reorganise the Patna Art School, and moves to Patna in the summer.

1955    Meets S. Mujtaba Ali in Patna

1957    Moves to Dehradun and then Banasthali

1958    Returns to Santiniketan to teach art history at Kala Bhavan

1959    First retrospective exhibition at the Indian Museum, Calcutta, organised by the Saniniktean Ashramik Sangha and the Academy of Fine Arts, February 10-18.

1960    Exhibits his works at Kala Bhavan, organised by the Visva-Bharti Chhatra Sammilani, August 29-September 4.

1965    Monograph of his works by Prithwish Neogy published by Lalit Kala Akademi.

1967    Assumes position of Principal of Kala Bhavan

1968    Appointed Professor

1969    Holds his second retrospective in Delhi

1970    Retires from Kala Bhavan and is made Professor Emeritus at Visva-Bharati and elected Fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi

1971    Sathyajit Ray makes the film Inner Eye on Benode Behari Mukherjee

1972    Completes the tile mural

1976    Moves to Delhi

1977    Conferred the Deshikottama (D.Litt) by Visva-Bharati

1979    Exhibition of works at Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta

            Post-blindness works shown at Art Heritage, Delhi

            His book Chitrakar is published

1980    Chitrakar receives the Bharatiya Bhasaha Parishad award.

            Benode Behari Mukherjee dies in Delhi after suffering a fall.

            Memorial Exhibition held at Nandan, Kala Bhavan, December 2-7.

1981    Posthumously receives the Rabindra Puraskar award for Chitrakar

2006 - 2007        

Benode Behari Mukherjee’s Centenary Retrospective is held at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in New Delhi, curated by Gulammohammed Sheikh and R. Siva Kumar

*The biography is an extract from the Time-Line published in “Benodebehari Mukherjee – A Centenary Retrospective Exhibition”, published by NGMA AND Vadehra Art Gallery, 2007

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