Giverny: Genesis of Modern Art by Monet.

It mesmerized Sen that the founder of Modern Art had mirrored his paintings to a dreamy formless garden he self-installed at Giverny. On seeing beautiful light fall on an abandoned piece of land while he was travelling by on a train, Claude Monet returned here to buy the land and create a total environment of nature that will rebound on his art. Artists normally paint still-life, figuratives or outdoors, but Monet used his unstructured garden as his subject to express himself freely. 

Most French gardens are geometrical, but Monet’s incredible forest garden resulted in Impressionism leading to the genesis of Modern Art in 1870 which changed the world of art. Sen learnt that artists Monet to van Gogh to Renoir were all swayed by artist Jean Francois Millet who focused on painting landscapes and rural folks. Millet had left Paris in 1849 for fear of cholera, went 50 kms away to Barbizon, hired a barn and transformed it into his painting atelier. Other artists followed, and so started the Barbizon School of Art that influenced the birth of Modern Art.

 Sen was similarly drawn to Millet’s small maison atelier in Barbizon since 1980s. Inspite of coming from another culture 10,000 kilometers away, Sen could experience the emotion and spirit of Millet in this small atelier.


When India was partitioned 1947 to create Pakistan, a new country for Muslims, about 20 million people of Bengal and Punjab were displaced and brutally victimized. Sen’s wealthy, literate family had huge landed property in erstwhile East Bengal, the present Bangladesh, which was carved out to be East Pakistan for Muslims. So for being Hindus Sen’s family was overnight evicted from their home. Without taking any possessions, they fled for their lives amidst people warring over religion, and so became squatted refugees in West Bengal.