In 1918, when Bireswar was still a bit short of taking his bachelor’s degree in English,
he met with two men who had by then acquired the status of icons in artistic circles:
Abanindranath Tagore and his foremost pupil, Nandalal Bose.
Bireswar Sen studied in the Indian Society of Oriental Art for six years under the
celebrated artist Dr. Abanindronath Tagore D.Litt, C.I.E.
There were two clear, though not competing, interests that Bireswar Sen had, however:
painting and the pursuit of English literature. In 1923, he started teaching English
in a College at Patna in Bihar. But painting claimed at least an equal amount of his
attention and his energies even then.
Bireswar Sen abandoned teaching English – without losing any part of his
interest in English literature, though – in favour of teaching art at the School of
Arts and Crafts, Lucknow, which he joined in 1926.
The meeting with Nicholas Roerich in 1932 changed him in many ways. “To most of us”, he wrote
in a journal, “Roerich is a legendary figure of romance.” But, he added: “Against the
wild glare of the flaming West, his mighty figure looms large like the motionless and
benevolent Buddha in the midst of a vast cosmic cataclysm.” At the same time, he wrote
that if Roerich was ‘great’, ‘greater still’ were his works. For he saw in them,
especially in his paintings of the Himalayas that he so loved, a luminosity which
seemed to come as much from the startling brilliance of the colours he used as from the
fire that burned within.