Watercolour on paper
a) d) 17.5 x 12.5 in | 44.4 x 31.7 cm
b) c) 18 x 12.5 in | 45.7 x 31.7 cm
(Set of four)
Kalighat paintings or 'patas' were first created in Bengal in the mid 19th century by traditional scroll painters known as 'patuas' who had moved to Kolkata attracted by its prosperity as the capital of British Indian and by the newly established Calcutta School of Art there. To make a living, these artists began painting around the old Kali temple in the city's southern Kalighat neighbourhood, and selling their quickly executed works to devotees and tourists visiting the shrine as souvenirs. Blending Indian subjects with newly learned Western techniques, these unique paintings with their characteristic bold, single-stroke outlines soon came to be classified as a distinct, urban school of painting in India. Kalighat paintings are known for their simple subjects, swift execution, vivid colours, lack of perspective, generously curved figures, and also their satirical undertones.Almost entirely displaced by cheaper printed versions in the 1940s, today, the tradition of Kalighat painting has been renewed by some of the descendents of the original patuas like Anwar Chitrakar. In addition, the tradition has evolved, and contemporary Kalighat paintings reflect a number of new subjects including modern family life, social evils and global events.