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Indian Modernist Jamini Roy’s home and studio could be Kolkata’s Casa Azul

2 min read  ·  20 Apr 2023

Jamini Roy, untitled painting, courtesy artist’s estate and DAG

Jamini Roy, the Indian Modernist inspired by traditional folk art, is trending on HENI News.

Roy’s HENI score, an index of an artist's market and media coverage, skyrocketed by 191% with the news of an ambitious plan to turn his former home and studio in Kolkata into a house museum. To keep up to date with news about Jamini Roy, see his HENI Dashboard.

Delhi-based DAG, a gallery and publishing house, has acquired the building from the late artist’s family and plans to open the Jamini Roy Museum, one of India’s first artist-house museum, by 2024. “We would like it to be on the lines of the Frida Kahlo museum in Mexico,” the chief executive of DAG, Ashish Anand, told the New Indian Express, referring to the famous La Casa Azul (Blue House) in Coyoacán, Mexico City.

The market for works by Jamini Roy (1887-1972) is strong, with auction sales totalling an impressive $1.83m over the past two years. An embroidered carpet by the artist, Untitled (Sita Haran), created in the 1930s or 40s, sold at Christie’s for $138,600, above its upper estimate. The large textile work was acquired from the artist a few years after it was created by one of his frequent visitors, the US photographer Ewing Krainin, who championed Roy's work and that of his contemporaries.

Born in a village in West Bengal, Roy moved to Kolkata to study at the Government College of Art and Craft but he rejected much of his academic Western training and embraced traditional Indian folk art, particularly the Kalighat drawings and paintings of Bengal.

Roy transformed these sources of inspiration into his own Modernist art, incorporating bold lines, flat colors, and stylized forms. His subjects often included portraits, animals, and religious themes, with a particular focus on scenes from rural Indian life.