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Shyamal Dutta Ray View Artworks of Shyamal Dutta Ray Back to Artist

Shyamal Dutta Ray’s works constitute a major turning point in the history of the Bengal School of Art. Known for works that portrayed the harsh realities of urban existence, Shyamal Dutta Ray used the medium of watercolours to give life to imagery that was haunting, arresting and that embodied within its layers a critical social commentary. His ill health and experience of the Bengal famine had a lasting impact on his imagination. One can see the depiction of the aftermath of the famine in many of his works.

Shyamal Dutta Ray completed his diploma in painting from the Government College of Art, Kolkata from 1950 to 55. In 1968, he became a founder member of the Painters’ 80 group . Regarded as a master watecolourist, he is credited with adding depth and intensity to the medium of watercolours, at a time when the Bengal school of Art traditionally used light and watery colours. Ray is also a founding member of the Society of Contemporary Artists, an artists' collective, that sought to introduce innovativeness into the art world of the 1960s.

Most of Ray's work reflects the city life of Calcutta, with its happiness and sorrow, struggle and strife, poverty and hope. The works also exhibit a sense of irony, surrealism and awareness of a disintegrating society. The artist has received many honours and awards including the Award of Merit from the Lalit Kala Academy, the Shiromani Kala Puraskar, and the Special Commendation of the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad. His works have been exhibited in Mumbai, Delhi, Calcutta and Bangalore. He has participated in international shows such as the Third World Biennale of Graphics, London, and the Havana Biennale, Cuba, etc. His works feature in various prestigious collections such as those of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Glenbarra Museum, Japan. The Artist passed away on 19th May 2005



  1950 -55 Diploma in Painting, Government College of Art and Craft, Kolkata

Selected Posthumous Exhibitions

  2012-13 'Calcutta Chromosome', The Viewing Room, Mumbai

  2011-12 'Reprise 2011', Aicon Gallery, New York

  2010-11 'Figure/Landscape: Part Two', Aicon Gallery, London

  2010 'Figure/Landscape: Part One', Aicon Gallery, New York

  2009 'Indian Art After Independence: Selected Works from the Collections of Virginia & Ravi Akhoury and Shelley & Donald Rubin', Emile Lowe Gallery, Hempstead

  2009 'Wound', Aicon Gallery, London

  2009 75th Birth Anniversary Show, Akar Prakar, Kolkata

  2009 'Tracing Time', Bodhi Art, Mumbai

  2008 'Post Independence Masters', Aicon Gallery, New York

  2008 ‘Shyamal Dutta Ray Memorial Show’, Akar Prakar, Kolkata

  2006 ‘Tribute’, Aicon Gallery, New York

Selected Exhibitions

  1999 ‘Watercolor Marks’, Mumbai

  1999 ‘Modern and Contemporary Works on Paper’, Bonhams, London

  1997 Exhibition, Chitrakoot Art Gallery, Kolkata

  1995 'Modern and Contemporary Indian Paintings 'Sotheby's Auction, London

  1993 ‘'Artists for Helpage', Asprey's Auction, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1993 ‘Wounds’, Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata

  1991 ‘Art For Spastics’, Kolkata

  1990 ‘Bengal Art Today’, Galerie 88, Kolkata

  1987 ‘Indian Drawing Today’, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1984 Kala Yatra and Sistas, Chennai

  1982 Kala Yatra, Mumbai, Bangalore, London, Manchester, Paris

  1981 Kala Yatra, Hyderabad

  1981 ‘Indian Painting Today’, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1971 ‘Prints from India’, Poland

  1969 Traveling Exhibition, Asian Graphic Prints, USA

  1958 Exhibition at Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata


  1986 6th International Triennale, Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi

  1983 Asian Art Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh

  1982 National Exhibition, Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi

  1982 Inaugural Exhibition, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal

  1980 All India Graphic Exhibition, Chandigarh

  1978,79,80,84 InterGrafik, East Germany

  1976 Western Pacific Print Biennale, Australia


Honours and Awards


  1958 Gold Medal, Academy of Fine Art, Kolkata

  1968 Rabindra Bharati University Award, Kolkata

  1968 Founder Member, Group 8, Kolkata

  1972,73,75,78 Birla academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata

  1982 National Award, Lalit Kala Akademi, Delhi

  1988 Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore

  1988 Awarded Shiromoni Puraskar

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