Hore, Somnath

Shepherd, 1965

Image for Shepherd, 1965

In Shepherd, Hore strains, contorts, and abstracts elements of the human form, violently representing what he views as the abjectness of the human condition. Although he employs the pastoral trope of the peasant, the figure is neither nostalgic nor romanticized. Rather, the skeletal shepherd—seen bending over a dead farm animal in a brown, fallow field—buckles under a burden of hopelessness. One senses the resonance of the political philosophy of the outspoken printmaker Chittaprosad Bhattacharya, who like Hore championed printmaking as an inexpensive, reproducible medium accessible to the masses and an ideal platform for social critique.

Born in present-day Bangladesh, in a small village in the city of Chittagong, Hore met members of the Communist Party as a young man. He made posters for the party, and its leader helped him gain entrance to the Government College of Arts and Crafts. Indeed, Hore’s art is deeply informed by Communist party philosophies, which held the Indian government partially accountable for the decimation of Northeast India’s population in the Calcutta famine of 1943. Turning away from the sentimental lyricism of the Bengal School, Hore co-founded the Calcutta Group of Art in 1947.

Medium Etching on paper
Dimensions 11 × 15 in.
Donor Gift of Abby Weed Grey
Credit Line Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection
Object ID G1975.200

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Collection Years: 1965