Rabin Mondal

  • Title: Untitled (328)
  • Medium: Mixed media on board
  • Size: 14.5 x 22.5
  • Year: 1979
  • On Request

About Artist

Rabin Mondal

“Painting is for communication and not for decoration.”

Artist Rabin Mondal was born in Howrah West Bengal in 1929. After completing his commerce he
graduated in Arts from Indian College of Arts and Draughtsmanship and continued with his art
education from the Asutosh Museum of Arts, Calcutta.

Growing up in the industrial belt of Howrah and homebound with a debilitating knee condition, Rabin
Mondal saw life around him through the lens of the Bengal famine, the violence, suffering and anguish
around him which lent a sombre and a grotesque look to his figurative works mostly using dense
pigments in blacks and reds, with only occasional moss green and turquoise colours seeping
through. As a young painter he was influenced by Jamini Roy’s folk style and Rabindranath Tagore’s

He held his first solo exhibition in 1961 at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata. He paints in bold
strokes, the faces of his figures strange and pensive, but also strong and defiant. His series on
Queens and Kings in oil are considered one of his best works and stand out for their sombre look
bold colours in tragic features suggesting fear and paranoia. Other favourite subjects of the artist
were the brothel and the harem, which he depicted in canvases.

His works can be found in the collections of The National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, Osians Art
Archive, Mumbai, The Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata, and the Jane and Kito de Boer
Collection, Dubai.

In 1964 he along with eight other painters formed the group called the Calcutta Painters with the
intention of promoting modernist art throughout India.

Coming from economically strained background he lived in obscurity until his retrospective works were
exhibited in the cities of Kolkata, Delhi and Bombay, and brought his talent to the fore in 2005. Mondal
has also been quite active with the avant-garde artist`s organizations in the city. He was a Lalit Kala
Akademi member from 1979-1982 that has also published a book of his drawings. The painter
passed away in 2019.

Samir Dutta, art critic for Statesman newspaper, who made a TV documentary on Rabin Mondal,

“Mondal has evolved a signature of his own. His style over decades of defiant, bold experiments
takes in imagery of primeval humans asserting themselves against great odds in a dense palette of
both pure and mixed colors. Here you have formidable drama, a throbbing theatre of primitive that
has its basis in remorseless jungle of today`s urban existence.”

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