Mukul Dey

Criminal Attack on Shivashri Ukil by Visva-Bharati University, Santiniketan

— Satyasri Ukil

Visva-Bharati attack in progress while VB Security Officer looks on.
Photo: Sheikh Ikbal
Notice / Record of Events related to Criminal Case No. 73/13 of February 20, 2013

 

March 5, 2013

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Ajodhya-Bankati Revisited

— Satyasri Ukil

Terracotta Temples at Kamar-para, Ajodhya.
Photo: Mukul Dey Archives
The villages of Bankati (or, Bonkati) and Ajodhya are situated at the periphery of an ancient Sal (Shorea robusta) forest on the south bank of river Ajoy in the district of Barddhaman, West Bengal. If one is travelling from Bolpur-Santiniketan in the adjacent district of Birbhum, then at Illambazar one crosses Ajoy to hit a point on the highway popularly known as “Egaro Mile”(11th mile, in English), and there takes a right turn to the twin villages of Bankati and Ajodhya.

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On Books and Prints

— Carl Zigrosser

Front cover of Zigrosser’s book, 1937.
Photo: Mukul Dey Archives
Mukul Dey came to know Carl Zigrosser (1891—1975), a specialist writer on graphic art and the founder of the Weyhe Gallery in New York later on, in 1916-17. Their acquaintance matured into a life long friendship. Often they exchanged letters and greetings cards. Mukul Dey sent many of his original prints to Zigrosser.

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Terracottas of the Ruined Temples of Bengal

— Angela Latham

Front Ccover, Art and Letters, vol. XXV, No. 2, 1951.
Photo: Mukul Dey Archives
Angela Latham, the author of this sensitive little write-up on brick temples of Bengal, was an artist herself, and wife of noted musicologist and critic Peter Latham. She was at Santiniketan in late 1940s, and visited the village of Surul with Mukul Dey where he was photo-documenting the temples then. Angela’s write-up was published in Art and Letters (The Journal of the Royal India, Pakistan & Ceylon Society), vol. XXV, No. 2, in 1951. In her article, Angela Latham notes the architectural similarity of these terracotta shrines with the traditional mud houses of rural Bengal. She also appreciates the photo-documentation of the temples by Mukul Dey.

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The Painters of Kalighat: 19th Century Relics of a Once Flourishing Indian Folk Art Industry Killed by Western Mass Production Methods

— Mukul Dey

Girl combing her hair. Nineteenth century Kalighat drawing.
Photo: Mukul Dey Archives
Reprinted from The Statesman, Calcutta, Sunday, October 22, 1933, p. 19, the following published article originally carried six Kalighat paintings from Dey’s collection as illustration, which exactly could not be reproduced here owing to the fragility of the newspaper clipping. In stead, we have included on this page some rare visuals from the old photographs of Mukul Dey’s collection of Kalighat pata paintings, which were photo-documented by him about eighty years ago. Emphasis added.

 

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Tomimaro Higuchi: The Ukiyo-e Artist's Exhibition in Calcutta

— Satyasri Ukil

Mukul Dey, Japanese Consul with wife and artist Tomimaro Higuchi at the inauguration of his exhibition at Government School of Art, Calcutta 1931
Photo: The Statesman, Calcutta

In the month of May, 1931 Mukul Dey sponsored an exhibition of modern Japanese Ukiyo-e prints by Tomimaro Higuchi (? 1898-1981) and his artist friends at the premises of Government School of Art, Calcutta. Mukul Dey’s relation with Japan and Japanese artists and art lovers began way back in 1916, when as a young Indian art student he accompanied Rabindranath Tagore to his first trip to Japan.

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Kosetsu Nosu: The Japanese Artist who Painted at Sarnath

— Satyasri Ukil

Kosetsu Nosu, reprinted from 1936 exhibition catalogue
Photo: Mukul Dey Archives
Once upon a time the Chitralekha House at Santiniketan had a richer collection of original paintings than what it has now. Many of these were displayed in our south facing verandah and other rooms. One such painting, hung on the wall adjacent to a peculiar staircase leading to the first-floor, was a brush-n-ink work by Kosetsu Nosu done on golden yellow Japanese silk stretched on a wooden frame. It depicted Lord Buddha, sitting cross-legged amid a stark desolate landscape. The picture fascinated me even as a child, the lines being bold, fluid and beautiful.

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Rabindranath Tagore's Exhibition

— Satyasri Ukil

Rabindranath Tagore at his painting desk. This photograph was exposed by Mukul Dey on monochrome glass-plate at 28, Chowringhee, Calcutta in 1932. Tagore often used Pelican coloured inks to paint his pictures.
Photo: Mukul Dey
Exhibition held at Government School of Art, Calcutta, 1932

Reprinted from ‘Art & Deal’, August-September, 1999.

It would have been proper to provide a backdrop of Rabindranath Tagore/Mukul Dey relationship before attempting to restructure these pragmatic aspects of an exhibition, which might generate controversies regarding certain ideological questions in the end.

Artist Mukul Dey, the sponsor of this historic exhibition was a student of Tagore’s school at Santiniketan during the years c. 1906 till 1912. Once a disciple and protégé, later on a rebel and a deserter (Dec. 13, 1917) Mukul Dey came back from U. K. to take the charge of Government School of Art, Calcutta, on July 11, 1928 as its first Indian Principal.

Our story begins here: at Calcutta, in the year 1928.

As source material to examine and narrate the topic mentioned above we have a set of nine letters of Rabindranath Tagore to Mukul Dey between Nov. 1928 and Nov. 1933; one printed and published illustrated catalogue of this exhibition; a set of six money receipts; one letter of poet’s son, Rathindranath Tagore to Mukul Dey dated March 18, 1932 and two newspaper clippings of ‘The Statesman’, Calcutta, 1932.

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Birbhum Terracottas: Mukul Dey's Documentation

— Satyasri Ukil

Terracotta temple at Adityapur village in Birbhum.
Photo: Mukul Dey
One of my earliest childhood memories is the image of burly Mukul Dey, in long johns and apron, drenched in the mellow glow of his darkroom safelights. The part of our family house Chitralekha in Santiniketan where his photographic darkroom was located is dilapidated now, covered with a thick green layer of moss and creepers. Once upon a time, this was a place of great fascination for us youngsters‚ with its bottles and jars of chemicals, trays, tongs and timer—a place that magically came to life under the red-orange spell of those safelights.

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