Jogen Chowdhury
Jogen Chowdhury Jogen Chowdhury Jogen Chowdhury Jogen Chowdhury


artist timeline

DAG exhibitions

b - 1939

Jogen Chowdhury

Born on 15 February 1939 in Faridpur (now in Bangladesh), Jogen Chowdhury’s family moved to Calcutta following the Partition.

Chowdhury studied art at the Government College of Art and Crafts, Calcutta, and subsequently at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. A student of Prodosh Das Gupta, Chowdhury worked in the expressionist style of figuration in his early years. He created his own gallery of the grotesque, featuring lewd men with bellies like sacks and women with loose, hanging breasts. The Paris sojourn sharpened his creative thought process, helping in the evolution of his distinctive personal style.

Chowdhury interprets the human form through the x-ray vision of his creativity: attenuated, exaggerated, fragmented, reconfigured, and rephrased. For Chowdhury, the body has to communicate in silence. Often placing his figures against a vacant background, he does not appropriate the specificity of place or environment; instead, he transfers feelings of anguish on to his figures through gestural mark-making. His dense, crosshatched lines simulate body hair and a web of veins takes away the smooth sensuality of the classical body to manifest the textures of life.

Chowdhury believes art in India is neither subsumed in the miniature traditions nor in those of Ajanta, for India is neither a monolith nor a static entity; and that a notion of Indianness should not be fixed into some kind of timeless loop. He has been awarded the Madhya Pradesh government’s Kalidas Samman, and was honoured at the 2nd Havana Biennale. He lives and works in Kolkata and Santiniketan.

‘When I paint or draw, I also establish a relationship with my subjects. As a social being, it becomes natural’


artist timeline


Is born on 15 February in Daharpara village, now in Bangladesh.


His family moves out of his uncle’s house to live in Dhakuria. Chowdhury begins attending literary meets across the city.


Is a student at Government College of Arts and Crafts, Calcutta. Becomes a film buff during this period, enjoys world cinema.


Paints the pensive Portrait of My Boudi and another pastel of his sister, Namita.


Receives awards for his watercolours from the Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta, as well as the Calcutta University Institute Exhibition.


Receives a gold medal in watercolour painting from the Academy of Fine Arts, and the Government College of Arts and Crafts.


Starts working as an arts teacher at the Howrah Zilla School as well as at the Studio of Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta. Receives an award for an oil painting at an art exhibition in Sreerampur, West Bengal.

Early 1960s

Continues to paint nude studies based on life models.


Has his first solo show at the Academy of Fine Arts.


Receives a government scholarship to study at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, and Atelier 17, both in Paris. Travels and spends five months in London.


Receives the Prix le France de la Jeune Peinture, Paris.


Has a solo show of his oil paintings at Galerie de Haut Pave, Paris.


Returns to India from London and works for the Weavers’ Service Centre in Madras. Continues to paint.


Joins Calcutta Painters group. Publishes his first collection of poems, Hridoy Train Beje Othey. Showcases his ink and mixed media works on paper at Sarla Art Centre, Madras.


Takes part in the second International Triennale, New Delhi, organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi.


Quits his job at the Weavers’ Service Centre to join the art gallery of Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, as an art curator—a post he retains for fifteen years. Paints late into the night. Receives an award from the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi. His show at the gallery is inaugurated by President V. V. Giri.


Founds Gallery 24 and Artist’s Forum in New Delhi along with other leading painters. Is part of the third International Triennale, New Delhi.


Makes a strong statement against the Emergency with his famous painting, Tiger in the Moonlight, now in the collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.


Is part of an exhibition at Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. Shows his works at the Embassy of India, Paris.


Participates in the fourth International Triennale in New Delhi. The same year, he exhibits at the Dhoomimal Art Gallery, and Chanakya Art Gallery, in New Delhi.


Is part of the Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil.

1979, '80

Receives the graphic arts award at the All India Graphic and Drawing Exhibition, Ahmedabad.


Is included in the travelling group show ‘Seven Indian Painters’ in Worpswed, Hanover, Hamburg, Braunschweig, and Bayreuth, Germany. Is founder and joint editor with Shuvaprasanna of art journal Art Today.


His works are shown at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, as part of the Festival of India. Is part of the inaugural exhibition at Roopankar Museum of Fine Arts, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal.


Is part of the exhibition, ‘Contemporary Indian Painters’ in Tokyo, Japan.


His works are included in the third anniversary exhibition of Roopankar Museum of Fine Arts, Bhopal. His works are part of the exhibition, ‘Artistes lndiens en France’, Festival of India, France.


Chowdhury’s works are exhibited as part of different exhibitions in Turkey, Cuba, Panama, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, Poland, and Iraq.


Joins Kala Bhavana, Santiniketan, as professor of painting.


Is part of an exhibition at the Takaoka Municipal Museum of Art, and the Meguro Museum of Art, Japan.


Is curator of the exhibition, ‘Contemporary Indian Art’, Dhaka, organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, New Delhi. Illustrates a book of poems by Namita Chowdhury, published by Pratikshan Publication.


Has exhibitions of drawings at Seagull Art Foundation, Calcutta, and Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi.


Is a participant in the International Prints Biennale, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, where he receives honourable mention.


His exhibition of drawings and paintings at Calcutta's C.I.M.A. gallery travels to the Glenbarra Art Museum, Japan. Is commissioner of the sixth Bharat Bhavan Biennale of Contemporary Indian Art, Bhopal. Mapin Publications’ Image and Imagination has an essay on Jogen Chowdhury by Geeti Sen.


Solo exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum in association with the National Gallery of Modern Art. Is a jury member for the Indian section of the International Triennale, New Delhi. Is convener of a seminar at the Calcutta Metropolitan Festival of Arts. Is part of ‘Tryst with Destiny - Art from Modern India (1947-1997)’, an exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum. Is written about in Major Trends in Indian Art published by the Lalit Kala Akademi. K. Bikram Singh makes a film on him, A Painter’s Portrait, for the national broadcasting service, Doordarshan.


Exhibits in Amsterdam and Paris.


Is a member of the advisory committee of the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi.


His portfolio of serigraphs made by Archer Gallery, Ahmedabad, is released by Bhupen Khakar.


Is presented the Kalidas Samman by the Government of Madhya Pradesh. His works are part of the group show, 'Prabhav', organised by the Indian Embassy, Berlin.
He is part of the exhibition, 'Art of Bengal – Past & Present' organised by the National Gallery of Modern Art.


Is a jury member for the Singapore Biennale Exhibition of Art.


His works are part of the ‘Margi and the Desi’ exhibition organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.


Makes a notable series referencing Abu Ghraib prison and the horrifying abuse of the prisoners by American soldiers in Iraq.


Jogen Chowdhury: Enigmatic Visions is published by Glenbarra Art Museum, Japan.


His work is part of the group show ‘Modern India’, organised by the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern and Casa Asia in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Valencia, Spain. Also, is part of two group shows in London.


His works are part of the exhibition, ‘From Miniature to Modern: Traditions in Transition’, organised by Rob Dean Art, London.


Is invited to stay at the Rashtrapati Bhawan as its first artist-in-residence.


Opens a first-of-its-kind museum, the five-storey Charubasona: Jogen Chowdhury Centre for Arts, Kolkata, to house his artworks, dating from his childhood days and tracing his evolution as an artist. A retrospective, ‘Jogen Chowdhury: Reverie and Reality (1955 to 2015)’ opens at Kolkata’s Emami Art Gallery.


Begins work on the sculpture, Elephant Museum, that he casts in Indonesia.


dag exhibitions

The ‘Manifestations’ series of 20th Century Indian Art, Editions V, VI, VII, VIII, X

DAG, New Delhi and Mumbai, 2011-14

‘The Printed Picture: Four Centuries of Indian Printmaking’

DAG, New Delhi, 2012; alternate locations in Kolkata, 2013; Mumbai, 2016; Jaipur, 2017; Chandigarh, 2018

‘The Art of Bengal’

DAG, New Delhi, 2012; Mumbai, 2014; New York, 2016

‘The Naked and the Nude: The Body in Indian Modern Art’

DAG, New Delhi, 2013; Mumbai, 2015

‘Indian Portraits: The Face Of a People’

DAG, Mumbai, 2014

‘India Modern: Narratives from 20th Century Indian Art’

DAG, New York, New Delhi, and Mumbai, 2015; Chandigarh, 2017

‘India’s French Connection: Indian Artists in France’

DAG, New Delhi and New York, 2018

‘The Sixties Show’

DAG, Mumbai, 2020

‘Navrasa: The Nine Emotions of Art’

DAG, Mumbai and New Delhi, 2020

‘Ways of Seeing: Women Artists | Women as Muse’

DAG, New Delhi, 2021

‘Indian Blue: From Realism to Abstraction'

DAG, New Delhi, 2021

‘Iconic Masterpieces of Indian Modern Art’

DAG, Mumbai, 2021

notable collections

National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi

Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, Mumbai

Piramal Art Foundation, Mumbai

Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh

CITI India Corporate Collection

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts

Glenbarra Art Museum, Himeji

Jane and Kito de Boer Collection, Dubai and London

archival media

The Economic Times

29 September 1990

The Hindu

25 September 1994

Business Standard

16 March 1996

Hindustan Times

13 September 2006