Abanindranath Tagore was the principal artist and creator of 'Indian Society of Oriental Art' and the first major exponent of swadeshi values in Indian art, thereby founding the influential Bengal school of art, which led to the development of modern Indian painting. He was also a noted writer, particularly for children.
Abanindranath Tagore was born in Jorasanko, Calcutta, British India to Gunendranath Tagore. His grandfather was Girindranath Tagore,the second son of "Prince" Dwarkanath Tagore. He is a member of the distinguished Tagore family, and a nephew of the poet Rabindranath Tagore. His grandfather and his elder brother Gaganendranath Tagore were also artists.Tagore learned art when studying at Sanskrit College, Kolkata in the 1880s. Around the age of twenty years of age, in 1890, Abanindranath attended the Calcutta School of Art where he learnt to use pastels from O. Ghilardi, and oil painting from Charles Palmer, European painters who taught in that institution.In 1889 he married Suhasini Devi, daughter of Bhujagendra Bhusan Chatterjee, a descendant of Prasanna Coomar Tagore. At this time he left the Sanskrit College after nine years of study and studied English as a special student at St. Xavier's College, which he attended for about a year and a half.
He had a sister Sunayani Devi.
About the year 1897 he took lessons from the Vice-Principal of the Government School of Art, studying in the traditional European academic manner, learning the full range of techniques, but with a particular interest in watercolour.
Abanindranath was introduced to art in the 1880s, when he was studying at the Sanskrit College.
In 1897, the Vice-Principal of 'Calcutta Government School of Art' started teaching the traditional European academic manner to Abanindranath Tagore. During that time, Tagore developed an interest in watercolors and also came under the influence of Mughal art. He made some beautiful paintings based on the life of Lord Krishna, reflecting a strong influence of the Mughal style. A meeting with E.B. Havell convinced Abanindranath Tagore to work with him in the process of the renewal of the style of teaching at the Calcutta School of Art.
His philosophy existed in rejecting the materialistic art of the west and coming back to the Indian traditional art forms. He was very much influenced by the Mughal School of painting as well as Whistler's Aestheticism