Like most other Indian artists who studied or lived in the French capital, Paris-based Burman’s works blend European and Indian imagery.
Born in Calcutta, Sakti Burman studied at the city’s Government College of Arts and Crafts, and later at École Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris.
Pointillism and a marbling effect are unique characteristics of Burman’s art. He discovered marbling accidentally when water spilled on an oil canvas caused a filigreed dispersal of oil, an effect he has been painstakingly recreating ever since. Incredibly, he brought the same effect to his prints, made in his initial years, achieving the marbling on the surface of the medium—stone or wood or metal—through a labourious technical process in close collaboration with his printmakers, incidentally, also employed by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall. In 1958, exposure to Italian Renaissance frescos by Giotto, Piero della Francesca and Simone Martini inspired Burman to incorporate the monumentality and texture of their works in his oeuvre.
India continues to inhabit his work in the form of characters and episodes from mythology or popular culture, often alluding to Ajanta cave paintings. Birds and animals, dream imagery and mythological figures such as Shiva’s son Kartikeya, referenced as the peacock-riding man, are frequent occurrences, making his work appear surrealist. For a long time now, he has foregrounded the figurative, which had receded from the art scenario in recent decades.
Burman is married to French artist Maite Deiteil and spends his time between his homes and studios in Paris and New Delhi.
‘Every new painting is a challenge for me. The pangs of creativity are not easy’
‘The Printed Picture: Four Centuries of Indian Printmaking’
DAG, New Delhi, 2012; Mumbai, 2016; alternate locations in Kolkata, 2013; Jaipur, 2017; Chandigarh, 2018
The ‘Manifestations’ series of 20th Century Indian Art, Editions VIII, XI
DAG, New Delhi, 2012-14
‘India Modern: Narratives from 20th Century Indian Art’
DAG, New York, New Delhi and Mumbai, 2015
‘The Naked and the Nude: The Body in Indian Modern Art’
DAG, New Delhi, 2013; Mumbai, 2015
‘India’s French Connection: Indian Artists in France’
DAG, New Delhi, 2018; New York, 2018-19
‘The Fifties Show’
DAG, New Delhi, 2020
‘The Sixties Show’
DAG, Mumbai, 2020
‘Navrasa: The Nine Emotions of Art’
DAG, New Delhi and Mumbai, 2020
‘New Found Lands: The Indian Landscape from Empire to Freedom'