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Three men in a boat

circa 1942


Jamini Roy


11 Apr 1888 - 1972


The robust immediacy, vibrant colours and daring simplicity of form in this painting identify the unique style of India's twentieth-century master Jamini Roy. Born in Bengal, of a typical rural family, Roy graduated from the Government School of Art, Calcutta, and initially produced fashionably 'modern' pictures indistinguishable from the works of many other contemporary Bengali artists. However, he went on to develop a distinctive style independent of the dominant Bengal school of modern Indian painting. In creating his own style, a modernist interpretation of the indigenous folk traditions of Bengal, he was particularly inspired by the dynamic art-form of Kalighat paintings, created in the nineteenth century by anonymous artists as souvenirs for pilgrims to the famous temple to the great goddess Kali. Characteristic of Roy's style is the use of bold black contours to contain strong simplified forms, brightly coloured with the earth and vegetable colours he preferred, imbued with an honest vigour and barely contained by the pictorial format. This painting was acquired directly from the artist in 1942 when he was producing some of his best work and before he succumbed to the pressure of an increasing popularity that forced him to churn out many lesser works.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 295.


Other Title


Place where the work was made

Kolkata (Calcutta) West Bengal India


circa 1942

Media category


Materials used

synthetic polymer paint on board


29.2 x 41.2 cm

Signature & date

Signed, l.r.corner in Bengali, red gouache [untranslated]. Not dated.


Purchased 1994


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Jamini Roy

Works in the collection


Referenced in 3 publications


Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: South Asia', pg. 288-297, Sydney, 1999, 295 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Contemporary Painting in Urban and Village India', Sydney, 2003, 54 (colour illus.).

Bronwyn Watson, Look, 'Network for Asia', pg. 20-21, Melbourne, Apr 2001, 21 (colour illus.).