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Hemendra Nath Mazumdar

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Majumdar, Hemendranath (1894-1948) painter. Hemendranath Majumdar was born in a village named Gachihata under Kishoreganj district.

His father Durganath Majumdar was an officer of Atharabadi Zamindar Estate of Mymensingh.

Since his childhood, Hemendranath had inclination towards pictorial art. When he was a student of tenth class he fled home, went to Calcutta and got himself admitted to the Government Art School there. Soon he was frustrated with the routine and discipline of the school and left it. He, however, did not give up painting and got himself admitted in the Jubilee Art School of Calcutta where he studied for about four years.

After studying for a while in the Government School of Art in Kolkata, Mazumdar and other students, became disgruntled with the British Principal's program to Indianize art. Things became more than bearable, when, in 1911, the King of England toured India and the students of the School of Art were asked by Principal Havell to design, build and decorate a celebratory gate as a loyal welcome to the arriving monarch.

Taking inspiration from this incident, many academic artists, such as Hemendranath, Bhabani Charan Laha and Atul Bose joined the Ranadaprasad Gupta's Jubilee Art Academy, which was founded in 1897, in a break away gesture. This taking control of events and defying authority made Mazumdar aware of the necessity to follow one's own instincts rather than sticking to a particular movement or group. He became one of the few Indian artists of the early twentieth century who enjoyed both monetary success and critical appreciation. In 1921, Mazumdar won the gold medal for his painting `Reminiscence' at an exhibition in Mumbai. In the same year another of his paintings was awarded the first prize by the Society of Fine Arts in Kolkata.

In 1929, Mazumdar founded the `Indian Academy of Art' at his own residence in Kolkata. Renowned artists like Bhabani Charan Laha, Jogesh Chandra Seal, Jamini Roy and Atul Bose were actively involved in the Academy's activities. The academy's first tri-monthly journal was published in 1920, introducing upcoming artists and printing reproductions of their work in full colour. The journal also published serious essays on contemporary art by various artists. Hemendranath Mazumdar also published picture-album called 'Indian Masters,' in which the paintings of almost all the important artists selected from all over the subcontinent were reproduced.

In 1931, he was invited by the Maharaja of Kashmir to work in the palace, and later Hemendranath Mazumdar was officially appointed 'Court Painter' of the Maharaja of Patiala. During this period in his career he executed many oil paintings that still hang in the courts of many Rajasthani princely states like Jodhpur ad Bikaner. After Independence, in 1947, Hemendranath was invited to paint a mural to decorate the All India exhibition, in which he excelled all his previous work. He painted its panels with several scenes of the life in Bengal he grew up with. Painting this large mural drained much of the old artist's health, and after a year, in 1948, he passed away, leaving only an amazing heritage of works behind for his admirers.

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