Jamini Roy’s Santal Drummers

Santal Drummers by Jamini Roy >>

Two sought after paintings by Rabindranath Tagore which the British collector, W.G. Archer, acquired while working in pre-independence India as a civil servant, are being offered for sale in London. […]

Another five paintings by Jamini Roy (1887-1972), with reserve prices of up to £12,000 (Rs 9.5 lakh), from Archer’s extensive collection are also included among 120 works in Sotheby’s annual sale of Indian Art due to be held on May 2.

The five, all tempera on card, are Santal Drummers, Christ with the Cross, and A Santal Couple, while two are untitled. The first two were acquired directly from the artist in Calcutta in 1941, demonstrating Archer certainly knew how to spot a bargain. […]

William George Archer (1907-1979) (more commonly known as “Bill” Archer) and his wife Mildred Agnes Bell (1911-2005) (“Tim” Archer) found inspiration for their life-long studies in India, where they lived for more than a decade before Indian independence.

They shared a great passion for the richness of Indian daily life, particularly in Bihar, where they spent most of their time and where they came across and wrote about the folk painting traditions of Madhubani and the culture and literature of the Uraon, Santal and other tribal communities.

Together they assembled an impressive collection of Pahari paintings. On returning to England in 1948, William took charge of the Indian department at the Victoria and Albert Museum where he remained for 18 years while his wife catalogued Indian paintings at the India Office Library for some 25 years. […]

Zara Porter Hill, director and head of Indian Art at Sotheby’s, commented: “The international focus on India and Indian art continues to gather momentum and the contemporary scene, in particular, is really flourishing.”

Source: “Tagore & Jamini Roy to go under hammer” by Amit Roy, The Telegraph Calcutta, 17 April 2008
URL: https://www.telegraphindia.com/1080417/jsp/nation/story_9149160.jsp
Date Visited: 20 June 2020

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

Learn more about Jamini Roy | Santal music >>
View this slideshow and more: National Gallery >>
Related: Crafts and visual arts | Santiniketan | Tagore | Tribal identity >>

From 1920 onwards his search for the essence of form led him to experiment with dramatically different visual style. His career spanning over nearly six decades had many significant turning points and his works collectively speak of the nature of his modernism and the prominent role he played in breaking away from the art practices of his time. […] Roy brought a joy and elan to the representation of village scenes and people, reflecting the innocence and romanticism of his childhood upbringing in a rural environment. It was perhaps an instinctive step forward for him, given that he was born in Beliatore village in Bankura district, West Bengal [in 1887]. After turning away from the academic realist style, Jamini Roy did a suite of paintings featuring Santal women. […] These paintings were stepping stones to even more dramatic changes in his visual language [being] drawn from everyday life-mother and child figures, women, bauls and so on. By the end of 1920s, Jamini Roy turned for inspiration towards the folk arts and craft traditions of his own district.

Source: Jamini Roy : Artworks from the collection of National Gallery of Modern Art
URL: http://museumsofindia.gov.in/repository/gallery/view/all/all/20/1
Date visited: 15 December 2020

Tip: reproductions of the paintings “Santal woman” & “Drummer” [Santal Drummers] are included in Paintings of Jamini Ray by Sipra Chakravarty (Album of art treasures, no. 6. Calcutta: Indian Museum, 1999)

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