Sen was born in Dhaka, now in Bangladesh, in 1918 in a noted Ayurved's family The world of
nature, colour, movement fascinated him from his childhood as is clear from his collection
of autobiographical vignettes, Jindabahar Lane, named after his Dhaka address. After
finishing school, Sen ran away from home to join the Madras Art School headed by Devi
Prosad Roy Chowdhury. His fellow-students their were K.C.S. Panicker, Prodosh Dasgupta,
Gopal Ghosh and others. After finishing art school, Sen taught art at the Daly college in
Indore. In 1943, he along with his friends formed the Calcutta group. In 1949, Sen left
for Europe. In Paris, he studied at Andre Lhote's school, Academie Grand Chaumier, Ecole
des Beaux Arts and Ecole des Louvre where he studied the history of painting. The sojourn
abroad provided an exciting exposure. A meeting with Picasso left a deep impression in
1954, he returned to Calcutta. To earn a living, he joined the Netarhat School in Palamau,
near Ranchi, as an art teacher. After a short stint there, Sen returned to Calcutta. He
joined the newly opened school of printing technology as professor of design and layout.
In the early '60s, he went abroad to England and France. He was
commissioned by the French government to design Bengali typography based on the script of
Rabindranath Tagore. This was an interest that surfaced once again in the '80s. between
1970-7 1, he received the Rockefeller grant and went to New York. On his return, he
created an installation on violence.
Between 1981-82, Sen had been Artist-in-Residence at Maryland Institute
of Art, Baltimore. In 1985, Sen was invited by the National Institute of design at
Ahmedbad to be an artist- in-residence. He taught a course in illustration. During his
stay there he used the English translation of a piece from Jindabahar Lane call A Tree
in My Village and made a folio-sized publication from it. It was a stimulating
experiment where he wrote and illustrated the piece in ink on sensitised paper which acted
as a negative and thereby excluded the negative film. It was one of the most fascinating
exercises in 'marrying text with image.
In the course of his career, Sen's style of painting has undergone many
changes. From the stylized to the voluminous, expressionist figures, he has traversed a
long way. But there are continuities. For example, the drawing with bold, vigorous
strokes, the use of volume m the figuration and sharp irony have been impressive elements
in his work. Since 199 1, his work has become more sensuous and he uses more exuberant
Paritosh Sen lives and works in Calcutta.
The guessing game
Acrylic on paper
Young Boy chopping chicken
Acrylic on paper
39" x 39"
Oil on paper
60" x 60"