Tagore ‘inspired 1922 German Bauhaus display in Calcutta’


EXHIBITION WAS FIRST MAJOR TRANSCULTURAL EVENT IN MODERNISM, SAYS ART HISTORIAN by AMIT ROY Sundaram Tagore, one of the most important Indian gallery owners in the world, is to make a film about an exhibition held by artists from Germany’s Bauhaus movement in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1922. This might at first seem a little esoteric except that the Bauhaus, which is celebrating its centenary this year, represented the most avant-garde group of artists of their time. According to the noted art historian Prof Partha Mitter, whom Sundaram wants to interview for his story, “Bauhaus was arguably the most important movement that shaped global modernism”. Sundaram, who owns galleries in New York, Hong Kong and Singapore, travels the world seeking out the best of “east meets west” contemporary art. He has just completed a documentary, Tiger City, on the American architect Louis Kahn, who designed, among other projects, the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad and the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban (National Assembly Building) in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The 1922 exhibition of some 250 works of art was held “in Samabaya Bhavan behind the Park Hotel in Calcutta,” said Sundaram. Among the artists whose works were shown – Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Johannes Itten – were some who had become celebrities in Europe. “I am interested in the confluence of cultures and this exhibition happened because Rabindranath Tagore was there,” explained Sundaram. At Waterstones’ main branch in London’s Piccadilly, there is currently a display of several books on Bauhaus to mark its centenary. The Staatliches Bauhaus, commonly known as the Bauhaus, was a German art school operational from 1919 to 1933. The Bauhaus, founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar, had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in art, architecture, typography and graphic, interior and industrial design. The school was closed down…

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