Dhiraj Choudhury – Black Hair painting

I came to know Dhiraj Choudhury (1936 – 2018) during my posting in New Delhi in the 90s. He was an Art Educator and reputable artist, who had held several exhibitions in India and abroad. Copious obituaries were published in English and vernacular press when he died in 2018. His obituary in The Hindu captures his life very well. It is attached.

In October 1996, Dhiraj held an exhibition of his paintings at my residence in Niti Marg. It was a highly successful event with some 800 footfall and handsome sales.

Several of the paintings on display were from his “Black hair” collection. One painting had been finished only ten days before. I had been in his studio then and bought it off the floor. It is featured above. The uniqueness of this painting lies in, one, it is in black and white, a drastic departure from the multi-coloured paintings in the series. You can see some of those pieces which appear in various sales catalogues.

Two, the uniqueness of this painting also lies in the fact that it is unknown to the market. I had bought it immediately after its completion, and, as far as I am aware, it has not appeared in public in any medium. In effect, it is unknown.

Subsequently, I asked Dhiraj about his emotional and artistic antecedents of the painting. He was kind enough to respond. His note to me explaining his impulse about painting the Girl with Black Hair is attached. It gives a full explanation. Incidentally, I asked him how the depiction of the Big O – I had never seen it before in contemporary Indian art – would be received by the Indian audience. He smiled and said that very few Indian men would notice the real intent of the artwork!

#Dhiraj Choudhury, #Black Hair, #Paintings