Description & Technical information

A serene depiction of a lady playing a sitar, made with broad brushstrokes in red watercolour that create an image that is simultaneously bold and delicate. On the top left is artist Sudhir Khastgir’s seal, signature and the year 1947 in Bengali. The inscription verso reads ‘Sudhir Khastgir, Chandbagh, Dehradun, India.’ There is a clear linear rhythm seen in this painting. While the strokes remind one of Kalighat paintings the delicate depiction of the hands and fingers across the strings and the attention to form and proportions make it distinct from those. Made in 1947, this painting would have been made around the time of India’s independence from British rule.
Sudhir Ranjan Khastgir was born in Chittagong in 1907. He studied at Fine Arts at Kala Bhavan under Nandalal Bose Abanindranath Tagore, where he trained in the Bengal school of art. After finishing studying at Santiniketan in 1929, he went to the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich to study Fine Arts on a scholarship. After returning from Munich, he became the first Art teacher at the newly opened Doon School. While at Doon, where he taught for 20 years, since 1935, he achieved considerable national fame. Apart from that, students of his remembered him as a kind teacher with humour and a twinkle in his eye, who guided them kindly through their explorations of the world of art. ‘Those of us who knew him well will remember his many charming and disarming qualities apart from, of course, his brilliance as an artist. He was truly a soft- spoken, gracious and caring Master. Keen to impart knowledge and artistry, he was never known to glow in self-approval. He took great pains to tutor, nurture and encourage budding talent – be it in painting, stone or wood-carving, clay modeling or even book-binding.’[1]
The largest collection of his works is currently in Dehradun. He was invited by the Uttar Pradesh Government to head the Lucknow College of Arts and Crafts in 1956. A prolific artist, he not only painted in watercolour and oil, but also excelled at sculpting and made sculptural portraits of Rabindranath Tagore, Gandhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru. On 27th November, 1936, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).[2] For his contributions to art, he was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, by the government of India in 1957. He passed away in 1974.



Sudhir Khastgir
Stock No.: A5614

Date:  1947
Period:  20th century
Origin:  Dehradun, India
Medium: Watercolour on paper
Dimensions: 73.6 x 39.3 cm (29 x 15¹/₂ inches)
Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints