Manishi dey

Blacksmiths Daughter
6 x 9 Inches
Watercolor on paper
Signed in English lower right and dated 1957

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Manishi Dey (1909 – 1966) was an Indian painter of the Bengal School of Art. He was the younger brother of pioneering Indian artist Mukul Dey. He was born in Dhaka, Bengal Presidency. Manishi was the fifth child, and third son, of Purnashashi Devi and Kula Chandra Dey. In 1917, at the age of eight years, Manishi was sent to Santiniketan upon his father’s demise. He went on to become one of the most versatile students of Abanindranath Tagore’s Bengal School. He was a born rebel and a bohemian who drifted away, forever in search of varied and newer visual idioms.

In 1928, at the age of 19, Manishi Dey held his first solo show in Calcutta. Throughout his illustrious career spanning four decades, he exhibited all over India in cities like Nagpur, Madras, Trivandrum, Benaras, Bombay, Delhi, Gwalior, Baroda and Pune. In 1946, his works were exhibited by the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) in New Delhi, jointly with other leading Indian artists such as Amrita Sher-Gil and Sailoz Mookherjea.

Manishi Dey was known for the ‘Indian Style’ of painting and watercolour wash technique in his works. In the late 1940s, his interaction with the members of the Progressive Artists Group of Bombay resulted in a break from the visual idioms popularized by Bengal school and marked a new phase of experimentation in the medium of oil.

The above work is a fine example from the artist’s ‘Red and Orange’ period (1948 onwards), which is characterised by depiction of Indian women painted in earthy tones.