Sudip Roy was born in Baharampur, West Bengal and came to study at the Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata. At college, he was known for attracting the attention of early collectors for his stylistic distinction in watercolours and expressionist drawings. He began his career as a young artist painting portraits and bold impressionistic landscapes, and architectural studies.
Career in contemporary art
Drawing upon those influences, he eventually forged the style of modern painting for which he is best known, a successful reinterpretation of traditional lean lithe iconography by way of crisp, clean, modernist lines. He went on to become one of the most celebrated modernists in the history of Indian painting because he had gone through myriad methods including the wash paintings that called for more than a thousand sweeps of wash effect.
He had his first solo show at Delhi in 1996 at Art Today, the exemplare gallery space for artists in Delhi, hit headlines in media because he sold out within a few hours. At Art Today were a few architectural watercolours and a few panoramic drawings done from his early college days.
He is married to Mitra Roy, and has two sons, named Sujat Roy and Sumit Roy. He lives and works between New Delhi, Baroda and Kolkata.
Works over the years
Monkey (Langur) series
Sitting in Behrampore and watching the world around him, he was deeply fascinated by the agile and languorous movements of the langur and their deep primate-like antics-his first series were a host of drawings that were studies of the monkeys. These drawings were clean and crisp sketches that spoke of the beauty of the contour as well as the magic of abstraction that happens when you want to keep lines short and sprightly and sometimes let spaces play within the contours of an impish moment. He also led this theme to his wash paintings, where he depicted a lot of social commentary.
The Charulata series was a series that was born out of the story by Rabindranath Tagore but one that went beyond because the modern-day woman is one who doesn’t care about the stranger who rings the bell or knocks at her door. She is depicted as the graceful feminine being who throws her pallu in careless grace and stands with vegetable stained hands at the doorway. The Charulata is a woman signified by Sudip as someone who is secretive and shy-‘lajja’ as the adjective described by the artist, in their being but deeply attractive for their sinuous curves and their loosely folded saris draped in dream-like intensities-bringing back the verve and stylized grace of Satyajit Ray’s film of the same name. Sudip added an elegant twist to his Charulata series with the addition of the mirror that echoed the classic studies of Hemen Majumdar.
Sudip did wash paintings during his college days and though it spells great labour and time he has continued to do a number of washes that have caught the attention of collectors and art lovers alike all over the world. His wash paintings included a series of Christs that were done with the quasi abstract feel and the romance of realism born of the vignettes of Da Vinci and Renoir and Reubens. The wispy softness and the strength of the subject is what has always set him apart-this is why his Christ was among the award-winning works at the Florence Biennale.
He began on a series of abstractions that were created listening to music. His understanding of the abstract expressionist movement in the West and his deep feeling for the flowing notes of a raga is what made him create a series of abstracts that looked more like billowing colours blowing in the wind with tiny formations of ideations and imageries that seemed to float in his retinue of rhythms. He went beyond abstraction when he melded polished metallic surfaces with his abstractions in two important shows in the new millennium.
Sudip supported CRY aiming to restore children’s rights. He worked with major designers for a fund raiser for a NGO, Sahan with FDCI.
Kapil Dev’s foundation Khushii organised an auction with Christie’s in which Roy had participated for charity causes including a hospital at Nimrana in Rajasthan and tsunami-hit people in southern India.
His work was also part of the auction that helped raise money for the sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi in London’s Parliament.
He is the first Indian artist who created and painted the BMW for the German company. Blended as a moody spring of contour and colour the BMW became an enduring symbol of a BMW art car.
Sudip has collaborated with Audi.
Roy painted live to promote Tanishq Jewellery in the year 2002.
During CWG XIX (India), an exhibition was curated by Rupika Chawla to welcome the guests. A print of that work is at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium Metro. Even Taj Hotel, Delhi showcased his works to promote CWG.
- 1979 Gold Medal from Sahitya Parishad, Calcutta
- 1981 Govt. College of Arts & Crafts
- 1982 Gold Medal in All India Fine Art Exhibition of Fine Arts, Calcutta.
- 1982 Govt. College of Arts & Crafts
- 1984 Indian Society of Oriental Art
- 1985 Indian Society of Oriental Art
- 1986 Indian Society of Oriental Art
- 1991 AIFACS, Delhi
- 2011 Lorenzo il Magnifico, Florence
- Museum of Sacred Art, Belgium
- Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata
- Indian Embassy, USA
- Hero Honda Motors Limited
- Bharti Tele-Ventures LTD (BTVL)
- Delhi Art College
- Government College of Art and Craft
- Tata Group
- HCL Technologies
- Tractors India Ltd.
- Jindal Steel and Power Limited
- Indian Parliament
- Doon School
- Dabur India Limited
- Tulip Telecom
- Kerala Museum, Kochi
Represented in several private and public collections all over the world.