Sukumar Deuskar

Shukumar Deuskar(1912 -1952), the former Principal of the School of Fine Arts and Crafts Hyderabad was a great portrait painter of yester years. He studied in Shantiniketan under the tutelage of Nandalal Bose in 1928 and went on to study in University of Paris, France, where he developed his portraiture skills. His earliest exhibitions of paintings in Germany (1932) and in Spain (1933) were well received by the press and critics. The paintings and portraits in oil on canvas stand alone as beautiful examples of the master artist, who imbibed various realistic conventions during his stay in Munich, Spain and Paris. Perhaps this is the reason why his visual language is close to Post Impressionism. Although he worked in watercolour and painted excellent murals employing Indian folk, mythical and social themes it was portraiture that he perfected over a period. Apart from portraits he dealt with native subjects pertaining from the ordinary to extraordinary such as peasants, labour, famous personalities and Nawabs of Golconda. Some of his best paintings can be located in Salarjung Museum, State Museum and Chowmalla Palace, Darbar Hall, Hyderabad. The short lived versatile artist creates a sense of realism in capturing the character of the sitter with adroit artistic temperament and astuteness. Even in this genre, he developed his own idiom working with an interesting chiaroscuro, where jewel like light emanates from the dark paintings. The earthy pitch dark backgrounds, strong multi-hued daubs and accurate flesh tints are the salient features of Sukumar’s dexterously executed paintings.

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