Ganesh Pyne was born in Kolkata in 1937. His grandmother’s Bengali folk tales, myths and fairy tales filled Pyne’s childhood and inspired his works. He doesn’t remember when he started to paint, but his family’s anger reagrding his decision to become an artist is something he would never forget. But, Pyne still took admission in the Government College of Arts and Crafts, Kolkata.
In 1963, he joined the Society for Contemporary Artists. Initially, he painted watercolors and sketches of misty mornings and wayside temples, variously influenced as he was by Walt Disney and the art of Abanindranath Tagore. From watercolour, Pyne turned to gouache and then tempera in the mid-’60s. During this period, he made small drawings in pen and ink since he did not have enough money to buy colour paints. This was also the period of experimentation.
The anger and despair of the 70s fuelled one of the most fruitful periods in his life as an artist.
He is one of India’s foremost contemporary Bengali painters. Exploring the deep recesses of his imagination, Pyne created uncanny images of disquieting creatures that draw our attention to a world beyond the familiar.
Pyne was deeply affected by Bengal’s history – communal riots and social history, so his works dealt with recurring themes like violence, death, horror, solitude and fear. Working mostly in tempera, his paintings are rich in imagery and symbolism. He comments on man’s existentiall condition through a shadowy world of skeletal figures. His dramatic rendering of light and shade, and its translucent layers created an air of mystery. But shows his immense talent in the medium. The lines are bold, precise, controlled and the drawings that emerge are potent both in form and content. Stripped of color, they convey the architectonic quality in the structuring of the images.
However, sometime in the 80s, due to jealously and pettiness he was observing among his friends in the art world, he shut himself from the world.
He passed away in 2013.