Born in Dacca (now Dhaka) in British India, Arun Bose was a pioneer printmaker who remained on the margins of mainstream Indian art as he built his career in the West, quite like Krishna Reddy, his senior contemporary who also mentored him briefly.
Bose graduated from the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Calcutta, in 1955. He taught at the city’s Indian College of Art from 1955 to ’62, where Bikash Bhattacharjee was one of his students. He next went to Paris for two years on a French government scholarship to study at École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, and Atelier 17, where Reddy was the associate director. Returning to Calcutta, he taught at his alma mater for three years.
In 1968, he went to the U.S. on a fellowship by the Pratt Graphics Centre, New York. At the same time, he also won the John D. Rockefeller III Fund grant to study there. He made New York his home and started teaching at its City University, where he set up one of the biggest departments of printmaking in the world.
Calcutta was a recurrent theme in Bose’s works, even decades after having left its shores. The city’s crowded streets, its palatial houses, often crumbling, and courtyards and terraces with peacocks were his usual tropes. His works evoked all things beautiful as he said: ‘I have no axe to grind and no profound message to impart.’
Bose passed away in New York on 7 February 2007.
‘Bose’s paintings emanate elegance and technical skill while depicting the quiet, serene joy in the visible mysteries of daily life’
MARILYNNE S. MASON
‘The Art of Bengal’
DAG, New Delhi, 2012; Mumbai, 2014; New York, 2016
‘Manifestations XI: 75 Artists, 20th Century Indian Art'
DAG, Mumbai and New Delhi 2014
‘India’s Rockefeller Artists: An Indo-US Cultural Saga’
DAG, New York, 2017; Mumbai, 2018
‘India’s French Connection: Indian Artists in France’