Indra Dugar, unlike his illustrious father Hirachand Dugar (1898-1951), did not have any formal education in art.
Born in 1918 in Jiaganj in Murshidabad, West Bengal, he sub-consciously absorbed the artistic ambience of Santiniketan where he grew up; his father was one of the earliest students at Kala Bhavana at the Visva-Bharati University. Dugar acquired art skills from his father and considered Santiniketan his alma mater. He was inspired by his father’s mentor Nandalal Bose, who saw great promise in him.
The absence of academic training gave Dugar’s art an individuality that distinguished him from other artists of Kala Bhavana. Dugar soon outgrew the Bengal School mannerisms, invariably visiting places to observe and paint views of nature and life en plein air. While he experimented with several mediums, his strength lay in executing delicate landscapes in watercolour. His mature works established him as one of the finest landscape painters of India. Progressively reducing naturalistic details in his paintings, he instinctively retained colour harmony for expressing serenity in nature.
Apart from landscapes, Dugar executed decorative motifs for several annual sessions of the Indian National Congress. He illustrated children’s books and as an art critic wrote for Bengali journals Desh and Ananda Bazar Patrika. A member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Calcutta, and All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society in New Delhi, Dugar’s works were exhibited in Paris in 1946 and across West Germany in 1964. He passed away in 1989.
‘When I paint, I never think of my style as traditional or anything else. Sometimes it is traditional and sometimes it is not’
The ‘Manifestations’ series of 20th Century Indian Art, Editions V, VI, X, XI
DAG, New Delhi, 2011-14
‘Indian Landscapes: The Changing Horizon’
DAG, New Delhi, 2012
‘The Fifties Show’
DAG, New Delhi, 2020
‘New Found Lands: The Indian Landscape from Empire to Freedom’