Mukul Dey
Mukel Dey, verso
  • Mukul Dey
  • Mukel Dey, verso

Mukul Dey
Leon Underwood

Underwood's Brook Green School was established in 1921. Amongst the students was Mukul Dey (1895-1989), who is the subject of this little etching. This powerful and uncompromising portrait of a brave and adventurous young Indian artist is masterfully conveyed, here, with stipples, sharp dashes and a few longer, elegant, strokes.

Mukul Chandra Dey was the first Indian artist to travel abroad to study printmaking. First, he went to Japan, then America. He spent 1917-20 in India and arrived in London, to study under Frank Short and Muirhead Bone - both with a huge reputation for their graphic art - as well as under the redoubtable Henry Tonks at the Slade. It may have been the latter who recommended that Dey should join Underwood's Brook Green School. Accordingly, in 1921, Underwood produced several portraits of the striking features - and, in this very poignant etching, the uncertain demeanour - of Mukul Dey.

In the light of Underwood's later preoccupation with 'primitive' art, it is interesting to note that, although Mukul Dey's work as an artist in India was executed in the style and mediums of the West, as a collector, he was fascinated by the folk arts and crafts of his own land.

Etching on wove paper, full margins
Size Unframed:
5½ins x 4ins
14cms x 10cms
Size Framed:
13ins x 9ins
33cms x 23cms
Title and date 29th May 1921 in plate, upper left. Print number 11 (out of 20) in pencil lower left; gallery label, verso

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