Sailoz Mookherjea
Sailoz Mookherjea Sailoz Mookherjea

Sailoz Mookherjea

Sailoz Mookherjea

Sailoz Mookherjea

1907 - 1960

Sailoz Mookherjea

Perhaps the least celebrated of the nine National Treasure artists of India, Sailoz Mookherjea was one of the earliest modern painters of the country, and also one of the earliest to study in Paris, in 1937.

Born on 2 November 1907 in Calcutta, Mookherjea completed his diploma in fine arts from the city’s Government School of Art in 1932. Upon graduation, he taught art and served as the art director of the Imperial Tobacco Company before moving to Paris in 1937-38, where he was highly influenced by Henri Matisse.

Mookherjea worked in oil in an easy expressionist style that set him apart from his Indian contemporaries, most of whom were working in watercolour washes, thus emerging as one of India’s earliest modernists. He bore no affinity to the beliefs of any popular contemporary style and drew on the diverse influences of Indian miniature tradition and the Paris school. His paintings sought to bring back visualisations of idyllic rural life in contemporary urban imagination through depictions of lived reality. His later landscapes showed a shift towards disintegration of form.

Mookherjea was highly influential as a teacher, training future greats such as Ram Kumar and J. Swaminathan; he taught at Sarada Ukil School of Art in New Delhi from 1945-47, and at Delhi Polytechnic from 1948-60. His works are part of important collections including Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, and the Jehangir Nicholson Gallery, Mumbai. He passed away on 5 October 1960 in New Delhi.

'He [Sailoz] reaches a purely abstract beauty where colour and movement, tension and texture, line and space exist by themselves'



dag exhibitions

'Changing Images: An Exhibition of 20th Century Indian Art'

Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai, 2001; DAG, New Delhi, 2001

'Manifestations: Indian Art in the 20th Century'

World Trade Centre, Mumbai, 2003; DAG, New Delhi, 2003

'Manifestations III: 100 Artists'

Nehru Centre, Worli, Mumbai, 2005; Rabindra Bhavan, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, 2005; DAG, New Delhi, 2005

'Manifestations VII: 75 Artists, 20th Century Indian Art'

DAG, New Delhi, 2012

'Indian Landscapes: The Changing Horizon'

DAG, New Delhi, 2012

'The Art of Bengal'

DAG, New Delhi, 2012; Mumbai, 2014; New York 2016-2017

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

DAG, New Delhi, 2018; New York, 2018-2019

notable collections

National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi

Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

Government Museum and Art Gallery, Chandigarh

Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta

Jehangir Nicholson Museum, Bombay

archival media

The Financial Express

21 September 2003