He was born in 1939 in Calcutta. He studied at the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Calcutta. In 1960, he won a French Government Scholarship to the Ecole National des Beaux Arts. He has served as commissioner to the Sao Paulo Biennale and was a member of the jury of the Pfix des Etrangeres, Paris. One of India's important post-modernist painters, Sunil Das rose to prominence with his drawing of horses. "I must have done 7000 horses between 1950 to 60," he says. "In 1962, I went to Spain, where I was fascinated by the bull fights." He doesn't ever use photographs or models for his painting. "I do a sketch before I start painting. I always struggle with colours and shapes, until they fall to desired pattern. Like a music conductor, I summon all my music instruments to play and orchestrate an aesthetic unit out of various experiences." He often paints with the palms of his hands or with his fingers. Das' paintings have also been influenced by his study of sculpture at Santiniketan, Kolkata, and his study of graphic art in Paris. His paintings have a kind of structure and rigidity that one would typically find in sculpture and in the etchings of graphic art.
Das's paintings not only express the physical attributes of his subjects but also their associative ones. Das uses soft brown, mauve and white in the background to bring out the drama of life. Das has the distinction of being the only Indian artist to have won a National Award (the Shiromani Kala Puraskar) while still an undergraduate at the his works are also a part of the collections of renowned museums such as the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Government College of Art and Craft, Kolkata. Besides having been featured in several exhibitions, Delhi, the Glenbarra Art Museum, Japan, and the Ludwig He has held over 40 solo exhibitions the world over. Some of those were at the Gallery Foyer Des Astistes, Paris , Gallery Jean Lafoud, Paris German Club-Max Mueller Bhavan, Rourkela, Centre Art Gallery , Kolkata, Jehangir Art Gallery , Mumbai, and The USIS, Kolkata.
Sunil Das lives and works in Calcutta.
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