In the beginning, there used to be no
exclusive galleries for art-exhibitions in India. Artists like
Abanindranath Tagore and others used to
use the premises of their own houses or those of their friends for
such shows. They were meant not for sale but for simple display.
Then in 1907, the
society of Oriental
Arts was established
with a permanent address of 12 Samavaya Mansion. But this Society
allowed only the society-members to put up their show. The Society
included names like Abanindranath Tagore,
and others. The artists of the new
Centre which too had important emerging names like
and Hirachand Dugar had to therefore hold their first Group Show in the
balcony of the Indian Museum of Calcutta. For three consecutive years this
was the only gallery available to the avant-garde artists of the time.
In 1914, with the patronage of the Maharaja Pradyot Kumar,
this exhibition was brought to a private residence.
Artists also had no regular studios in
those days. At the
Tagore House at Jorasanko
, artists, poets, singers all gathered together for
chit-chatting, famously called the Bengali adda. Annually at the Jorasanko
House, exhibitions were also held.
In 1933, an important development took place as Lady Ranu
Mukherjee established the academy of Fine Arts. But the Academy got its
Maidan Building a year later because of the
efforts made by Sir Biren Mukherjee, the Chairman of the Board of
Trustees of The Academy of Fine Arts,
and other donors.
An important Private gallery of the time was GC Laha Gallery. This was older than
the Academy of Fine Arts, but due to neglect and almost no aid from the Government,
the Gallery has lost much of its old charm.
independence too the number of galleries
in entire Bengal was very limited. The first exhibition of the
Society of Contemporary Artists with names
like Ganesh Paine,
Sunil Das and
Bhattacharya also had
be held in a place called the Artistry Gallery. So sad was the situation of
this gallery that it had to finally close down in 1960s. The society also
had to hold shows in its small studio at Lenin Sarani,
But since the seventies, the number of Galleries increased in
number. Birla Academy which was established much early came into prominence
as came the Chemould gallery.
Today there are many galleries of prominence in Bengal. Some
of these include
The Academy of Fine Arts
Birla Academy of Art & Culture