Sunil Das was born in Kolkata, India. He joined the Government College of Art & Craft, Kolkata in 1955, then won a French Government Scholarship to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Sunil Das was one of India’s most important post-modernist painters. He went through different styles of painting throughout his career. Das said, “To prevent myself from producing the same kind of work, I keep altering my vision. From the day people begun to see me as a painter, a huge responsibility fell upon me, particularly to respond to the feelings of the people at the grassroots level who are also my viewer, as also to delve deep into realities of life around me.” At 60 years of age, he could look back at his nine to ten phases of paintings, all of them marked by supreme skill and a sense of integrity. An indefatigable painter, Das jumped from one style to another easily. He was inspired by the force and the strength of the moving horse and went on to create a work made out of charcoal titled- Horses in Motion. His works revolved around Man-Woman relationships, Woman in her sexual empowerment and in her loneliness. He had around 88 solo exhibitions across the world including having his work included in the Paris Biennale.
Das’s paintings not only express the physical attributes of his subjects but also their associative ones. Every once in a while, he paints human beings, but his depiction of the human anatomy is skewed, to a point that it almost borders on macabre surrealism. For example, his series on women with mysterious, tantalising eyes – all oil on canvas, the portraits convey, in various forms including the erotic, the pressures women are subject to.
He was the founding member of the Society of Contemporary Artists.