Born: 1965

Paresh Maity - Paintings


Paresh Maity was born in Tamluk, a suburban town near the Bay of Bengal who has been a prolific painter in a short career span with a unique place in the Indian art scene who was often referred to as the “William Turner of India”. There is the unmistakable ‘soulfulness’ of mood and memory, sweep and slash of colours and the transparent depth of his watercolor that makes Maity’s artistry a wonderful coalescence of art and thought. He weaves into his psychological stream the many faces of nature — the colours of the sea and the pitter-patter of raindrops. Nature has always been a part of his psyche and surroundings. Throughout Paresh’s childhood, nature was omnipresent. He lived in a time where one had to become either an engineer or a doctor. Nevertheless, he went to Kolkata then to Delhi to pursue art but lacking the financial capacity to enroll in the College of Art, he went back to Kolkata. Here is where he had the glimpse of the works of the Western masters such as Rembrandt, Turner, Constable, Winslow Homer to name a few at the Victoria Memorial Hall which he used to visit. Seeing their works sparked in him the desire to be like them; he wanted to be known as a hardworking artist. In awe of Rembrandt’s way of using light, he tried to capture his method and simultaneously admired the impressionists, the cubist phase of Picasso but considered Rembrandt, Homer and Turner to be his favorites. He traveled all over India, and anywhere he went, he painted nature but felt that his understanding of it was never enough. At the onset of the 90s, figures started to appear in his works as opposed to the traditional landscapes from his early years. Figures of men and women, animals and birds became part of his watercolour, a medium which he had come to master. Paresh despised the harsh side of life which reflected in his paintings which are all soft and soothing.

Like many other artists of India, Paresh had a humble beginning. His first work of three watercolours was sold for Rs 75 each to Gallery Chemould in Kolkata when he was 18 years old.

Paresh is an instinctive master of watercolour, a notoriously difficult medium and has the ability to interpret light in terms of pure colors. It is hard to classify his work within any particular tradition of watercolour painting. He has progressed from an early realism to a more moody expressionistic and atmospheric style.

Paresh Maity - Artworks

What has become of paramount importance to Paresh is to ‘capture the moment’ . He chooses to work directly from nature - on the spot. “If you paint directly from nature, what you have is a direct transformation”, he says. ‘You can capture the moment, the emotion, the feeling, the light.”

Graduating from the Government College of Art in 1990, he brought with him the myriad memories of the bustling Kolkata trains to the capital city of Delhi. “Traveling everyday by the trains, watching the people go about their everyday chores was an image that remained in my mind, I suddenly realized how central the human image is to our understanding, to our deeper instincts.” In the case of Paresh, he did not use pencil, pen and ink like the old masters in the 1700s; instead he used the colour directly with the brush to indicate tonal contrasts along with the distinctiveness of applying the highlights as well as the darker tonalities. Paresh never played with description; it was always the real thing and you realized that his paintings too were born of that realism.

Souza - Indian Artist

Once he’s back from his sojourns all over the world, he ceases to meet anyone in the morning hours, he spends all his time in the act of creation. “Painting is a passion for me, it is a parallel from if self expression”. The works during mid-80s to the end of the decade register this impact most fully. In this crucial period, he laid aside the sharp gesturalist rhetoric that had been his trademark, replacing it with a softened, blunted mark. In the closing years of the preceding century, Paresh abandoned his older approach altogether and devoted himself entirely to the new stylistic direction that he had traced out for himself in a few key paintings.

For centuries, the Camel Fair at Pushkar in Rajasthan, has been a colorful mingling of sacred ritual and business. Around the full moon in the month of Kartik (October and November), 200,000 or so pilgrims and traders come to this town to trade some 50,000 camels and other livestock and to take a cleansing dip in lake by one of the two temples in India dedicated to Brahma. At Pushkar, it was the sight of the ghats around the lake that enthralled Paresh. “About 52 ghats and a profusion of people with cattle, cows, camels, women with those long lehengas and rich embroidered work with beads, mirrors and bells. The scene is a fantastic mix of another age in today’s world. The colour that they wore, the magenta, the sunset yellow, the parrot green, nowhere in India do we encounter so many colours all at once. I came back and started a few watercolor with just different studies of these faces.” This is how the Niyaka series in his genre was born. Face to face series for Paresh derives it very essence from the power of memory. Through the faces that came off his train of thought, Paresh’s attempt was to capture the elusive images of the human countenance in concrete definite forms.

Souza - Indian Artist

A very skilled artist, he wields a rugged palette, and is extremely versatile in his treatment of colour and texture. He has held many solo shows, including exhibitions at Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, Gallerie Ganesha in New Delhi and Gallery Katayun in Kolkata. He has participated in various group shows like the National Art Exhibition in Jaipur, Kala Mela, Lalit Kala Academy in New Delhi, and the Citibank Group Show in Mumbai. Besides other accolades, he has also received the National Scholarship from the Government of India and the All India Mini Sculpture Exhibition Award from AIFACS. He gradually moved from atmospheric scenery to representations of the human form. His more recent paintings are bold and graphic, with a strong color and unusual cropping. His works are in a number of collections, including the British Museum, and the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi. In early years he did many watercolors of different locations.

Text Reference:
Excerpts from the book Life and Works of Paresh Maity by Uma Nair published by Art Musings, Mumbai, CIMA Gallery, Kolkata, Gallerie Ganesha, New Delhi and Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore


  • Gold Medal, USSR, 1983
  • Indian Society of Oriental Art, Kolkata, 1985
  • Award, Government of West Bengal for Best Water Colour Painting Award, 1985
  • Award, Indian Society of Oriental Art, Kolkata, 1986
  • Jamini Roy Birth Centenary Celebration Award, 1987
  • Governor's Gold Medal from Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata, 1988
  • Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Celebration Award, 1988
  • National Scholarship Award, Government of India, 1989
  • All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society Award for Best Watercolour Painting, New Delhi, 1990
  • Award for Outstanding Painting, Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata, 1990
  • All India Fine Arts and Craft Society Award for 62nd All India Art Exhibition, 1990
  • Pt. Ravishankar Award from College of Art, New Delhi, 1992
  • British Council Visitorship, 1993
  • Harmony Award, Mumbai, 1999
  • Royal Watercolour Society, London, 2002
  • Indo-American Society, 2005
  • Dayawati Modi Award for Art, Culture and Education, 2012
  • ABP’s Sera Bengali Award, Kolkata, 2013
  • Hall of Fame by Hello (Times of India Group)
  • Cartier Award, St. Moritz Switzerland Art Masters, 2014
  • Padma Shri, Government of India, 2014
  • Eastern Eye Editor’s Special Award for contribution in field of art in Royal Festival Hall, London, 2016
  • Award from Bihar Government, 2017


  • An Enchanting Journey: Paresh Maity’s Kerala
  • Paresh Maity: An Odyssey 16th -29th November 2000
  • Paresh Maity: Shapes in symphony
  • Paresh Maity: World of Watercolours
  • Life and Works of Paresh Maity - 25 years
  • The World on a Canvas - Paresh Maity

Top 10 Auction Records

Title Price Realized
Morning USD 62,500
Untitled USD 61,270
After the Night Watch USD 54,000
Eternal Nature USD 46,927
The Journey USD 42,151
Aarti (Breaking Meditation) USD 38,863
Dawn USD 35,000
Desert Storm USD 33,000
Night USD 31,250
Dusk USD 30,000