Atul Bose

Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1898
Precise DOB unknown: 
City of birth: 
Mymensingh, Bengal
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
01 Jan 1977
Precise date of death unknown: 
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1924
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1924-26, 1930


Atul Bose was a portrait painter from Bengal. Bose studied at the Jubilee Academy in Calcutta and then at the government art school, and began his career as a penniless artist doing sundry artistic jobs in Bengal. Bose's Bengal Tiger, a sketch of the educationist Asutosh Mukherjee, earned him a scholarship to the Royal Academy in London. The sketch was used by The Times Literary Supplement in their obituary of Mukherjee in 1924 (30 May 1924).

Bose spent two years, 1924-6, at the Royal Academy. He was heavily influenced there by the post-impressionist Walter Sickert. He refused an invitation to help decorate the pavilion at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924 with Mukul Dey. Upon his return to India, Bose taught at the government art school in Calcutta. However, he became unhappy there with the appointment of Mukul Dey in 1928. In 1929, the Government of India announced an all-India competition to produce copies of the royal portraits at Windsor Castle for the Viceroy's new residence in New Delhi. The architect Edwin Lutyens chose Bose and J. A. Lalkaka for this prize and they went to England in 1930. Lutyens even asked Bose to draw his likeness.

Bose became Principal of the Calcutta art school in 1945, a position he kept for two years. Partha Mitter believes that Bose's lasting achievement was his involvement with the (Indian) Academy of Fine Arts. In 1939, Bose had his first retrospective in Calcutta, which was reviewed favourably by Shahid Suhrawardy.

Published works: 

Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings of Atul Bose (Calcutta, 1939)

Verified Perspective (Calcutta, 1944)

A Hundred Years of Painting and Politics in Bengal [in Bengali] (Calcutta: Ananda, 1976)

Secondary works: 

Daw, Prasanta, Atul Bose (Calcutta: Indian Society of Oriental Art, 1990)

Mitter, Partha, Art and Nationalism in Colonial India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994)

Mitter, Partha, The Triumph of Modernism: India's Artists and the Avant-Garde, 1922-1947 (London: Reaktion, 2007)