INSPIRATION

French Influence

Indian Origin

FRENCH HERITAGE OF ART

Starting as a sweeper did not stop Sen from imbibing the deep inner sense of French art and culture. His meditating place was regularly spending time in front of Louvre museum on the bank of Seine river. Initially, a tourist friend in Paris had obliged him to visit Voltaire’s house at Quai Voltaire in Paris. Later, while immersing himself into the heart of French art and culture he wondrously realized Voltaire’s fundamental contribution to the French value of freedom of expression. Sen discovered this freedom of expression penetrated every aspect of French life. Perhaps this kind of ideology inspired artist Monet to install an incredible forest garden at Giverny to express himself freely. This led to the genesis of modern art in 1870 which changed the world of art. No French King with every resource at his command could have created such a living garden.

THE FRENCH CREATED MODERN ART MOVEMENTS

Sen learnt that a new art movement was emerging focused on landscapes and rural folks. It was artist Jean Francois Millet who had left Paris in 1849 for fear of cholera, went 50 kms away to Barbizon, hired a barn and transformed it into his painting atelier. Other artists followed him, and so started the Barbizon school of art that went on to influence the birth of modern art. From artists Monet to van Gogh to Renoir, all were swayed by Millet. Similarly for Sen, Millet’s small maison atelier in Barbizon has become a pilgrimage place. Unfortunately, this atelier museum does not have Millet’s paintings today, they have all gone to collectors and museums, mainly in USA. Inspite of coming from another culture, from a small squatted, slum-like refugee colony 10,000 kilometers away near Kolkata, Sen could experience the emotion and spirit of Millet in this small atelier. Sen started visiting this atelier since the 1980s. It was a spirit that had a huge dimension for the future of art, a spirit that gave access to Sen to be inspired by French artistry.

Seine river with Louvre Museum. This is Sen's regular place of meditation.

Poppy in Monet's garden at Giverny. Monet invented the trajectory of Modern Art

Culture Minister’s old Haussemann building was contemporized with a zigzag effect

Place des Vosges in splendid 16th century architecture, occupying a huge square space

ARCHITECTURAL CREATIVITY OF PARIS

Millet’s reason for leaving Paris revealed to Sen that Paris was being rebuilt to purify it from the plague that was becoming rampant then. Emperor Napoleon III had appointed architect Haussmann to stop the infectious disease. Haussmann destroyed the slums so the poor had to leave the city, which led to criticism that Paris has turned into a paradise for the rich. However, what Haussmann built in 1853 to 1870 has since become the all-time reference of art enmeshed in city architecture. Hausemann’s Cultural Ministry building has been further contemporized with special metal effect.

PLACE DES VOSGES, TIMELESS VISION OF A SQUARE PARK SINCE 1605

During this same period, author Victor Hugo wrote his famous book, Les Miserables. At one of Sen’s regular nightly walks around authentic old areas of Paris to experience the old time feeling of the city, he suddenly discovered the house of Victor Hugo. It was 2 am when he turned a corner of Place des Vorges to find this genius writer’s home. Sen’s introduction to French literature started from here. He is fascinated by Victor Hugo’s dramatic writing, and equally attracted to his incredible paintings in monochrome. Sen finds Ile Saint Louis, the natural islet where Paris originated, to have remarkable urban planning with all one-way roads, but Place des Vosges definitely scores higher in his estimation. Place des Vosges, a true square of 140×140 sq.mt built in 1605-1612 is more engrossing because Sen experienced the breath of history encased in this oldest square of Paris. Most importantly, it also nurtured artist-writer Hugo’s compelling writing and striking application of light in his paintings.

UNIQUE OPEN AIR BOOK GALLERY STORES ON SEINE RIVER

Typically Paris by night for Sen was a stroll, not in Lido or Pigalle, but on the bank of Seine River. He would pause at the bouquinists to devour the inspiring old art books, photos, posters and artifacts they sold from temporary stalls. A poster that intrigued him was the back of a man wearing a red muffler. He then discovered Toulouse-Lautrec had painted this poster. ‘Aristide Bruant in his cabaret’ was written on the poster. This made Sen curious. He was already familiar with Toulouse-Lautrec because in the Cachan lithography atelier where he had worked as a sweeper, he was helping an artist engrave lithographic reproductions of Toulouse-Lautrec’s paintings La Modiste (The milliner) and Salle des pute (chamber of prostitutes). If Toulouse-Lautrec painted this, Aristide Bruant’s cabaret has to be very interesting, thought Sen. In his mind cabaret meant nude dance, plenty of which was part of Parisian night life. But he later discovered that actually French cabaret was very different. It was started by Aristide Bruant in a bar in Montmatre, Paris. It meant musicians at a bar, with guitar, accordian and piano, composing anecdotal songs on-the-spot with current social elements. They would humorously address visitors who came into the bar, but in a derogatory way which people found very appealing and entertaining.

DISCOVERING THE SUMMIT OF ART HUBS IN PARIS

So Sen made his way to Lapin Agile in Montmartre where Aristide Bruant’s cabaret since 1855 used a vaudeville-inspired mix of song, entertainment and ‘comedy of the insult’ satire to poke fun at the club’s upper-crust guests who came “slumming” to Montmartre. That’s how Sen differentiated Montmartre to be not touristic, but an artistic place where the cabaret is not nude dancing. Artists like Picasso, Modigliani, Apollinaire and Utrillo all spent time in such clubs. At the belle epoque time beginning 20 century, many artists such as Dali, Picasso, Modigliani, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissarro, van Gogh and Mondrian had their studios here. Sen has since taken many of his friends to see the beautiful white-domed Basilica of the Sacre-Coeur (Sacred Heart Church) and the street artists, but for him Montmartre with famous artists who lived there remains the vast sacred heart of visionary art.

Bouquinistes selling vintage art book, posters and artifacts on the banks of river Seine

Artistic homage to an unparalleled French singer Gainsbourg. His walls are painted by public

Chandernagore, the erstwhile French territory, was Sen’s aspiration for France from the age of 12

Sen’s inspiration springs from this home of Leonardo da Vinci at Clos Luce, Loire Valley

CHANDERNAGORE WAS SEN’S STEPPING STONE TO FRANCE

Sen’s childhood habit was walking down the Ganges river near his refugee camp. From here he would often take the ferry to cross the river and arrive at the erstwhile French colony of Chandan Nagar (Chandernagore in French) set up since 1673. This is what initially ignited him to come to France. Later in France he found the Loire river valley, and here he would walk kilometre after kilometre. At first he was not enamoured of the Loire castles because they represented only the kingdom establishment to him. But one day, after a French friend told him not to ignore the French Kings because they were the big patrons of art, Sen went inside the Castle of Amboise. That’s when he found out that King Francis I had invited Leonardo da Vinci as his guest and bequeathed him a small castle called Clos Luce about 500 metres from Amboise castle. This is where Leonardo da Vinci lived his last 3 years. This is also how, Sen found out, that the painting Mona Lisa is in Louvre Museum, Paris, because da Vinci arrived with 3 paintings, one of which was Mona Lisa. Clos Luce has since become another pilgrimage place where Sen goes regularly to breathe da Vinci in France.

FRANCE IS SEN’S INSPIRATION, IN HIS HEART, MIND AND BRUSH

According to Sen, the French soil, sky and freedom of social and artistic culture magnetized immigrant artists such as Dutchmen Vincent van Gogh and Mondrian; Russians Chagall and Kandinsky; Spaniards Picasso and Dali, German Max Ernst and American Man Ray among others to blossom in France. With this inspiration, Sen did not just live in France, he totally drowned himself in the French artistic experience. That’s why he continues to ‘breathe France’ with the Indian colours of his origin. The aesthetics, culture and artistic sense of France which he grew up with has been embedded in Sen’s soul, and is expressed through his Gesturism style of art.

FRENCH INFLUENCE

Seine river with Louvre Museum. This is Sen's regular place of meditation.

FRENCH HERITAGE OF ART

Starting as a sweeper did not stop Sen from imbibing the deep inner sense of French art and culture. His meditating place was regularly spending time in front of Louvre museum on the bank of Seine river. Initially, a tourist friend in Paris had obliged him to visit Voltaire’s house at Quai Voltaire in Paris. Later, while immersing himself into the heart of French art and culture he wondrously realized Voltaire’s fundamental contribution to the French value of freedom of expression. Sen discovered this freedom of expression penetrated every aspect of French life. Perhaps this kind of ideology inspired artist Monet to install an incredible forest garden at Giverny to express himself freely. This led to the genesis of modern art in 1870 which changed the world of art. No French King with every resource at his command could have created such a living garden.

Poppy in Monet's garden at Giverny. Monet invented the trajectory of Modern Art

THE FRENCH CREATED MODERN
ART MOVEMENTS

Sen learnt that a new art movement was emerging focused on landscapes and rural folks. It was artist Jean Francois Millet who had left Paris in 1849 for fear of cholera, went 50 kms away to Barbizon, hired a barn and transformed it into his painting atelier. Other artists followed him, and so started the Barbizon school of art that went on to influence the birth of modern art. From artists Monet to van Gogh to Renoir, all were swayed by Millet. Similarly for Sen, Millet’s small maison atelier in Barbizon has become a pilgrimage place. Unfortunately, this atelier museum does not have Millet’s paintings today, they have all gone to collectors and museums, mainly in USA. Inspite of coming from another culture, from a small squatted, slum-like refugee colony 10,000 kilometers away near Kolkata, Sen could experience the emotion and spirit of Millet in this small atelier. Sen started visiting this atelier since the 1980s. It was a spirit that had a huge dimension for the future of art, a spirit that gave access to Sen to be inspired by French artistry.

Culture Minister’s old Haussemann building was contemporized with a zigzag effect

ARCHITECTURAL CREATIVITY OF PARIS

Millet’s reason for leaving Paris revealed to Sen that Paris was being rebuilt to purify it from the plague that was becoming rampant then. Emperor Napoleon III had appointed architect Haussmann to stop the infectious disease. Haussmann destroyed the slums so the poor had to leave the city, which led to criticism that Paris has turned into a paradise for the rich. However, what Haussmann built in 1853 to 1870 has since become the all-time reference of art enmeshed in city architecture. Hausemann’s Cultural Ministry building has been further contemporized with special metal effect.

Place des Vosges in splendid 16th century architecture, occupying a huge square space

PLACE DES VOSGES, TIMELESS VISION OF A SQUARE PARK SINCE 1605

During this same period, author Victor Hugo wrote his famous book, Les Miserables. At one of Sen’s regular nightly walks around authentic old areas of Paris to experience the old time feeling of the city, he suddenly discovered the house of Victor Hugo. It was 2 am when he turned a corner of Place des Vorges to find this genius writer’s home. Sen’s introduction to French literature started from here. He is fascinated by Victor Hugo’s dramatic writing, and equally attracted to his incredible paintings in monochrome. Sen finds Ile Saint Louis, the natural islet where Paris originated, to have remarkable urban planning with all one-way roads, but Place des Vosges definitely scores higher in his estimation. Place des Vosges, a true square of 140×140 sq.mt built in 1605-1612 is more engrossing because Sen experienced the breath of history encased in this oldest square of Paris. Most importantly, it also nurtured artist-writer Hugo’s compelling writing and striking application of light in his paintings.

Bouquinistes selling vintage art book, posters and artifacts on the banks of river Seine

UNIQUE OPEN AIR BOOK GALLERY STORES ON SEINE RIVER​

Typically Paris by night for Sen was a stroll, not in Lido or Pigalle, but on the bank of Seine River. He would pause at the bouquinists to devour the inspiring old art books, photos, posters and artifacts they sold from temporary stalls. A poster that intrigued him was the back of a man wearing a red muffler. He then discovered Toulouse-Lautrec had painted this poster. ‘Aristide Bruant in his cabaret’ was written on the poster. This made Sen curious. He was already familiar with Toulouse-Lautrec because in the Cachan lithography atelier where he had worked as a sweeper, he was helping an artist engrave lithographic reproductions of Toulouse-Lautrec’s paintings La Modiste (The milliner) and Salle des pute (chamber of prostitutes). If Toulouse-Lautrec painted this, Aristide Bruant’s cabaret has to be very interesting, thought Sen. In his mind cabaret meant nude dance, plenty of which was part of Parisian night life. But he later discovered that actually French cabaret was very different. It was started by Aristide Bruant in a bar in Montmatre, Paris. It meant musicians at a bar, with guitar, accordian and piano, composing anecdotal songs on-the-spot with current social elements. They would humorously address visitors who came into the bar, but in a derogatory way which people found very appealing and entertaining.

Artistic homage to an unparalleled French singer Gainsbourg. His walls are painted by public

DISCOVERING THE SUMMIT OF ART
HUBS IN PARIS

So Sen made his way to Lapin Agile in Montmartre where Aristide Bruant’s cabaret since 1855 used a vaudeville-inspired mix of song, entertainment and ‘comedy of the insult’ satire to poke fun at the club’s upper-crust guests who came “slumming” to Montmartre. That’s how Sen differentiated Montmartre to be not touristic, but an artistic place where the cabaret is not nude dancing. Artists like Picasso, Modigliani, Apollinaire and Utrillo all spent time in such clubs. At the belle epoque time beginning 20 century, many artists such as Dali, Picasso, Modigliani, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissarro, van Gogh and Mondrian had their studios here. Sen has since taken many of his friends to see the beautiful white-domed Basilica of the Sacre-Coeur (Sacred Heart Church) and the street artists, but for him Montmartre with famous artists who lived there remains the vast sacred heart of visionary art.

Chandernagore, the erstwhile French territory, was Sen’s aspiration for France from the age of 12

CHANDERNAGORE WAS SEN’S STEPPING
STONE TO FRANCE

Sen’s childhood habit was walking down the Ganges river near his refugee camp. From here he would often take the ferry to cross the river and arrive at the erstwhile French colony of Chandan Nagar (Chandernagore in French) set up since 1673. This is what initially ignited him to come to France. Later in France he found the Loire river valley, and here he would walk kilometre after kilometre. At first he was not enamoured of the Loire castles because they represented only the kingdom establishment to him. But one day, after a French friend told him not to ignore the French Kings because they were the big patrons of art, Sen went inside the Castle of Amboise. That’s when he found out that King Francis I had invited Leonardo da Vinci as his guest and bequeathed him a small castle called Clos Luce about 500 metres from Amboise castle. This is where Leonardo da Vinci lived his last 3 years. This is also how, Sen found out, that the painting Mona Lisa is in Louvre Museum, Paris, because da Vinci arrived with 3 paintings, one of which was Mona Lisa. Clos Luce has since become another pilgrimage place where Sen goes regularly to breathe da Vinci in France.

Sen’s inspiration springs from this home of Leonardo da Vinci at Clos Luce, Loire Valley

FRANCE IS SEN’S INSPIRATION, IN HIS HEART, MIND AND BRUSH

According to Sen, the French soil, sky and freedom of social and artistic culture magnetized immigrant artists such as Dutchmen Vincent van Gogh and Mondrian; Russians Chagall and Kandinsky; Spaniards Picasso and Dali, German Max Ernst and American Man Ray among others to blossom in France. With this inspiration, Sen did not just live in France, he totally drowned himself in the French artistic experience. That’s why he continues to ‘breathe France’ with the Indian colours of his origin. The aesthetics, culture and artistic sense of France which he grew up with has been embedded in Sen’s soul, and is expressed through his Gesturism style of art.

INDIAN ORIGIN

Indian Colour heritage

In Franco-Indian artist-painter Sen’s Gesturism paintings, profusion of colour is always present. The inclusiveness trait is embedded in Indian culture which defines no dogma of good and bad. So in terms of colour usage there is total freedom among India’s 1.2 billion people to abundantly and irreverently use colours without any worry of disturbing any cultural or social system. Colour is the central theme that drives everyone in India, from poor to rich, to always be bright and dazzling in spite of having lots of economic and social problems. So the legitimacy of Sen’s colours has a relevance to his Indian origin, even as he is a French National today. He drives the Indian cornucopia of colours with French inspiration. You may say Gesturism Art establishes Sen’s palette of irreverent Indian colours. His paintings, abstract with hidden figuratives, have Western artistic structural discipline merged with Indian colours.

Indian Colour heritage

In Franco-Indian artist-painter Sen’s Gesturism paintings, profusion of colour is always present. The inclusiveness trait is embedded in Indian culture which defines no dogma of good and bad. So in terms of colour usage there is total freedom among India’s 1.2 billion people to abundantly and irreverently use colours without any worry of disturbing any cultural or social system. Colour is the central theme that drives everyone in India, from poor to rich, to always be bright and dazzling in spite of having lots of economic and social problems. So the legitimacy of Sen’s colours has a relevance to his Indian origin, even as he is a French National today. He drives the Indian cornucopia of colours with French inspiration. You may say Gesturism Art establishes Sen’s palette of irreverent Indian colours. His paintings, abstract with hidden figuratives, have Western artistic structural discipline merged with Indian colours.