Mukul Chandra Dey, born in the year 1895, was an ardent student at the Viswa Bharati University. Dey is considered as one of the pioneer of dry point etching in India. He happens to be one of the first artists to travel to foreign land for the studying printmaking as an art. When he was in Japan in the year 1916, he studied under Yokoyama Taikan and Kanzan Shimomura at Tokyo and Yokohama. Rabindranath Tagore
and Mukul Dey lived as guests of Japanese silk-merchant Tomitaro Hara, at his popular residential compound Sankeien, enjoying a rare opportunity to study classical Chinese and Nihonga style Japanese paintings, specially the masterpiece of Sesshu Toyo.
Early Years of Mukul Dey
Dey did his initial training in arts from Santiniketan
. He travelled to America from Japan in the year 1916 to learn the art of etching from Bertha E. Jaques and James Blanding Sloane in Chicago. They were introduced to Dey, by an American artist named Roi Partridge and his wife Imogen Cunningham. Mukul was a life member in Chicago Society of Etchers.
Upon his return to India Mukul Dey fully concentrated on making etching as fine art. He supported himself through making portrait drawings for rich and wealthy peoples. Dey once again travelled aboard in the year 1920, to take special lessons on engraving, etching under Frank Short and Muirhead Bone. He studied at both Royal College of Arts and Slade School of Fine Arts, in London. Professor Henry Tonks taught Mukul Dey at Slade School of Art.
Career as a Painter for Mukul Dey
During his stay in America, Mukul impressed Stanislaw Szukalski, an American sculptor, a lot. He impressed a lot of people in the field of art. His works of art were mainly based on various ways of life in India. Unlike artists like Haren Das, whose wood work art was more inclined to Indian art form, Mukul mainly concentrated on drypoint etching, a strictly European practice. Despite following western techniques, Dey would choose subjects from West Bengal
like: baul singers, market place of Kolkata, life tribes of West Bengal
and strictly related to Birbhum District
At Vichitra Club upcoming artists like Nandalal Bose
, Mukul Dey, Asit Kumar Haldar, and Narayan Kashinath Deval were optimistic to try-out in ever new creative standards and art forms.
Achievements of Mukul Dey
Mukul in the year 1928 was appointed as the first Indian principal in the Government School of Arts, Kolkata
. While at college he was responsible for starting a section for women. Before, only men could join this institution as art students. Dey is known for his work related to water colours, pencil colours and dry point etchings. He is also remembered for drawing portraits of famous personalities like Tagore and Tata families, Albert Einstein, and Mahatma Gandhi
. He also depicted, through his art, faces of Swami Vivekananda
, among others.
Archives of Mukul Dey
* Mukul Dey`s works are found in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
* The Indian Museum, Kolkata
* The National Gallery of Modern Art NGMA in Mumbai
* The National Gallery of Art, Delhi
The Mukul Dey Archives are housed at Mukul Dey`s former home, named Chitralekha, at Santiniketan.
Life as Illustrator for Mukul Dey
Dey did the illustration for books at Shantiniketan Bolpur School. He even illustrated books for Rabindranath Tagore.
Personal Life of Mukul Dey
Manishi Dey, who is also an accomplished painter, is the younger brother of Mukul Dey. He was also a member of Progressive Artists Group and a prominent painter of Bengal School of Art
Death of Mukul Dey
Dey died in the year 1989.