India will revisit a slice of history next year when it takes a specially curated show of paintings by Rabindranath Tagore to Paris after 81 years to mark his 150th birth centenary in 2011, Culture Secretary Jawahar Sircar said in the capital Sunday.
"Argentinian poetess Victoria Ocampo had said to Rabindranath Tagore, who began painting rather late in life at the age of 60, that his art would sell. Tagore agreed to create a series of paintings for an exhibition in the mecca of art, Paris, in 1930," Sircar told reporters.
Tagore created a pool of nearly 126 paintings for the show.Sircar said, "The government may not be able to recreate the exhibition at Gallerie Pigalle in Paris but it will carry several paintings that were exhibited 81 years ago in France".
The exhibition that drew the glitterati of Paris later travelled across Europe.
"Paris was then the final word on art. If it deemed that a particular artist's work was fit to be shown, the world accepted it," Sircar said.
The government will mount two travelling exhibitions of Tagore's art. "One has been curated and the other is in the process of being collated.
"Several countries in Europe, including Germany, wanted to host the first exhibition but I stuck to Paris. Even the US wants us to bring an exhibition of Tagore's paintings," he said.
Scholars believe that Tagore experimented with art in 1924. The manuscript of Purabi, one of his popular compositions, featured his maiden efforts at drawing. Thereafter, the poet took to drawing regularly.
His art was a combination of European expressionism, abstraction and the figurative forms of Bengal that gave it a distinct identity.