Born in 1882, Kharagpur in the Bengal Presidency of pre-independence India, Nandalal Bose studied at Calcutta’s Government School of Art under the tutelage of Rabindranath Tagore. He went on to become the principal of Kala Bhavana, (Fine Arts Department) at Rabindranath Tagore’s Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan in 1922. Bose taught many notable Indian modernists, including K.G. Subramanyan, Benode Behari Mukherjee, and Ram Kinkar Baij.
Nandalal Bose is esteemed as one of the pioneers of the ‘nationalist modern’ in Indian Art. His contributions in the task of beautifying the original manuscript of the ‘Constitution of India’ and designing the emblems of Bharat Ratna and Padma Shri, the highest civilian awards from the Government of India, on the request of Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru, the first Prime minister of India, is art historically important. Nandalal Bose on the dictation of Mahatma Gandhi had put an exhibition of art and craft during the Lucknow Congress in 1936. His association with Gandhi can be further marked in his iconic linocut that commemorated Gandhi’s Dandi March. The famous Haripura Congress posters, which he designed in 1938 on the invitation of Gandhi, are a few from his many treasured works.
Nandalal Bose was honoured with the title of ‘Desikottama’ by Visva-Bharati University. The Tagore Birth Centenary Medal was awarded to him in 1965 by the Asiatic Society of Bengal. In 1954, Nandalal Bose was awarded the Padma Vibhushan among several other awards from prestigious universities and institutions of India.
A selected few works from the set of Haripura Congress posters by Nandalal Bose, along with artworks of seven other modern and contemporary Indian artists are on view at the India pavilion, Venice Biennale. ‘La Biennale De Venezia’ or Venice Biennale 58th International Art Exhibition, will be on display from May 11- November 24, 2019. The India Pavilion is titled, ‘ ‘OurTime for a Future Caring’ based on the theme of 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi. The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art is the principle partner and curator of the pavilion.