Sunil Das

F. N. Souza once said about Sunil Das: ‘His paintings are often about death and horror… [He is] a master of the horrific in art.’

Sunil Das was one of India's most important post-modernist painters who worked mostly dark and sombre colours practicing minimalism and worked through suggestions. The artist was born in Kolkata in 1939 and after finishing his degree in Kolkata in 1955 from Government College of Arts 7 Crafts, he won a French Government Scholarship and went on to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

He experimented with different styles in painting and did not draw from photos or models instead made sketches which he painstakingly developed through the colours and shapes till the desired pattern was revealed. He exhibited great skill and integrity in his paintings and often would paint using his palm and fingers instead of the pen and brush.

He hardly ever used loud or bright colours and the muted warm shades of soft brown, mauve and white in the background brought about the drama of life. He practiced minimalism and worked through suggestions. His major body of works is serigraph, conte, oil on canvas using the mixed media of pen and brush creating His portrayal of the human figure however bordered on macabre and women figures came with mysterious tantalising eyes - all oil on canvas, often depicted the pressures women were exposed to.

Going to Europe with the scholarship he travelled to Spain where he developed his love of the horses and bulls and came to be identified more with his series on horses and bulls.

"I must have done 7000 horses between 1950 to 60" he says. "In 1962, I went to Spain, where I was fascinated by the bull fights."

Recipient of the Padma Sri award in 1978 he also received the following awards:

  • 2008 Taj Ratna Award
  • 1991 Shrimoni Award, Kolkata
  • Artworks

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