The Calcutta Group was the first group of modern artists in India, formed in 1943 in Kolkata. It was the first progressive amalgam of artists before independence, in the highly eventful and grim days of Calcutta. The city was mired in famines and ruthlessness of the Raj.
The Group was founded to find the right mix of contemporary styles and traditional roots of modern Indian art. The leading members were the sculptor Pradosh Das Gupta, Subho Tagore, Paritosh Sen, Gopal Ghose , Nirode Mazumdar and Zainul Abedin. The group soon morphed into a movement along with the Bengal school of art. The former served as the new life and energy to the latter. The motto of the group was, “Art should be international and interdependent ”. The group believed in discovering newness and in progression towards new horizons. They believed that learning from past glories which were the workmanship of Masters of art, was as important as adopting styles of the present. They were proud of the Indian art maestros and wanted to infuse vivacity to the lost vigour in the strokes of the contemporary Indian art.
The group actually made its first public appearance in the form of an exhibition organized by Mrs. Casey, wife of Governor of Bengal. The exhibition created much needed flutter in the art circles and the Group got both its share of appreciations and criticisms. The real success came in 1948 when both connoisseurs of art and general public started taking pride in owning a piece of the Group’s work.