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Doyen of Indian art B C Sanyal is no more
20.00 IST   09th Jan 2003

By IndiaExpress Bureau

The world of art suffered an irreparable loss on Thursday with the death of the Grand Old Man of Indian Art Bhabesh Chandra Sanyal died after a prolonged illness in New Delhi on Wednesday. He was 102.

Sanyal, who had been keeping indifferent health , is survived by his wife Snehlata and daughter Amba.

The cremation will take place at the Lodhi Road cremation ground on Thursday.

The eminent artist, who has won several awards, including the prestigious Konark Samman, was active to his last years.

Till very recently, Mr. Sanyal was engaged in setting up an artists' resort in Kangra valley.

Born on April 22, 1901, in Dhubri In Assam, B C Sanyal left for Kolkata in 1920, where he joined the Serampore College of Art. The six years he spent here honed his artistic skills, not only in painting but also in sculpture.

Outgoing and adventurous, Sanyal tried various innovations, including going with a colleague to a red light area to get a model to sketch.

In 1929, Sanyal received a rare honor when the Indian National Congress commissioned him to prepare a bust of its martyred leader Lala Lajpat Rai for the Lahore session.

Soon after, Sanyal became vice-principal of the Mayo College of Art in Lahore, a position he held till 1936.

Forced by the British, who feared the ‘trouble-maker’, he resigned from Mayo. Then he set up the Lahore College of Art.

It was Lahore which witnessed the flowering of his natural talent. He also built a team of artists, which revered him as their 'guru' till the end.

After the partition, Sanyal and his wife Snelata, a ghazal singer and theatre person, came to Delhi, where they set up base in the Gole Market area.

In the capital, he was associated with several groups and institutions including the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, Delhi Shilpi Chakra, the fine arts department in Delhi Polytechnic and the Lalit Kala Akademi(LKA), where he served as the secretary and vice-chairman.

It was during his tenure at the LKA, that the first triennial, which is now a permanent fixture in the Akademi, was held.

Sanyal, who worked in different media throughout his life, is especially known for his water colors which showed his concern for human struggles. He has painted a large number of rural settings, landscapes and depicted ordinary people pursuing their work.

Some of his famous paintings include, "The flying scarecrow', 'Cow herd', 'Despair' and 'Way to peace', which shows Mahatma Gandhi with a Hindu and a Muslim child.

Sanyal won the Padma Bhushan award in 1987, the honorary citizenship of Baltimore in 1988, Visva Bharati's Gagan Abani Puraskar in 1993 and the Assam government's Sankar Dev award in 1999.

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