Born in Kolkata in 1940, Bikash Bhattacharjee lost his father at a very early age. In 1963, he graduated from the Indian College of Art and Draftsmanship. He joined the same college as a professor in 1968. From 1973, Bhattacharjee began teaching at the Government College of Arts and Crafts and taught there till 1982.
Bhattacharjee drew inspiration for his work from his early dreary days, were vivid images of his struggling - the crumbling walls of buildings and the multitudes of people living there - wove certain magic in his mind.
His drawings form a fitting introduction to his paintings, revealing the predilection of the artist for forms: forms that are consistent in terms of tone rather than line. Bhattacharjee carefully expresses the textural effects of crayons, pastels, and pencil using the combination of highlights and depths of passages built of varying intensities of line.
Improbable characters (both psychologically and physiologically) play a role on the canvas and dominate his oils. Yet his work is a powerful combination of realism and fantasy, where reality sets the ball rolling and fantasy helps the canvas assume a new reality.
His subject is always clear, recognizable, painted with faithfulness to detail, and invested with a sense of the dramatic. Female beauty is a major preoccupation with him. But he also creates a varied cast of characters in his canvases - old men and women, children, domestic help. The ability to create an authentic milieu as a background to the characters heightens the drama.
Bhattacharjee's women are a strange mixture of spirituality and sensuality. Different moods of the painter are reflected in his different paintings. Some times flesh and blood figures turn shadowy. Where women in his canvas are an abstraction, men appear to live in their own world.
The artist explores the possibilities of oil as a medium and can depict the exact quality of drapery or the skin tone of a woman, the peeling walls of an old building. He had also achieved mastery over the capturing of the quality of light, an effect that lends his work a superb realism as well as an enigmatic quality. His love of cinema had a lot to do with this.
He creates a wide variety of characters from all walks of life, but his preoccupation is with female beauty. His use of art techniques of post-Renaissance European oil painting could be responsible for creating this illusion of reality. Indeed, he leaves the viewer thinking, his canvases haunt, his paintings are an enigma that suggests and the mind is but a slave that must follow.
Bhattacharjee is also known for his Kolkata cityscapes that he worked on in his twenties.
He works with many mediums - oil on canvas, tempera, oil on board, pastels on board, watercolor, crayon, and pencil.
The artist passed away in 2006.
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