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Tagore's art harvest.

IT'S BEEN 150 years since the Bard of Bengal was born in Calcutta. But Delhi is only now getting to see the originals of some of Rabindranath Tagore's most enigmatic artworks that started off as doodles when he was 67 years old.

The polymath may have been a late starter as an artists, but he completed well over 2,000 works, many of which can now be viewed at an exhibition titled The Last Harvest at the National Gallery of Modern Art.

The exhibition's title has been taken from a letter Tagore wrote in 1928 to a close friend wherein he said: " I am hopelessly entangled in the spell that the lines have cast all around meC* If I were a free agent... unburdened by any care, I would live by the Padma and gather a harvest of pictures and nothing but pictures to load the golden boat of time with." These artworks have been on the road since last September when they were first showcased at Berlin's Asian Art Museum. They then travelled to museums in New York, Seoul, London, Chicago, Paris, Rome, Kuala Lumpur and Ontario, before finally coming to New Delhi.

The exhibition's curator, Raman Siva Kumar, a professor at Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, said: " Tagore always thought he didn't have the right skills to be a painter. He kept doodling on his manuscripts and it was much later that his doodles turned into images, and he discovered a sense of rhythm in his paintings." It was Victoria Ocampo, an Argentine writer and Tagore's good friend, who first found artistic merit in his doodles and also helped organise the first exhibition of his paintings in Paris in 1930.

These artworks are drawn from the prestigious collections of Kala Bhavan and Rabindra Bhavan at Visva Bharati and from the gallery itself.

As NGMA director and acclaimed artist Rajeev Lochan put it: " Tagore was familiar with the movements taking place at that time and realised that the image had the capacity to say much more than the written word." The paintings will be on display in New Delhi till January 2013, after which they will move on to Hyderabad, Bhopal, Mumbai, Bangalore and finally to Kolkata.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Nov 24, 2012
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