Jogen Chowdhury was born in a village near Kotaliparha at Faridpur district at what is now Bangladesh in 1939. The family moved to Calcutta in 1947 following the Partition of Bengal. Chowdhury entered the Government College of Art and Crafts in 1955 and graduated from the college in 1960.
Chowdhury's first job was as an art teacher in a school in Howrah. He taught there for two years and then in 1962, he joined a textile designer in the Handloom Board In 1965, Chowdhury went to Paris and studied in Ecole des Beaux Arts and in William Hayter's Atelier 17. He returned to Indian in early 1968 and went to Madras as a textile designer in the Handloom Board. He stayed there for four years till 1972. His first book of poems was published in 1970. The same year he joined the Calcutta Painters Group.
Chowdhury moved to Delhi in 1972 as the curator of the art collection at Rashtrapati Bhawan. In 1975, he along with some leading Delhi artists founded Gallery 26 and Artists' Forum. From 1976, onwards, Chowdhury participated in several exhibitions and art camps abroad. He published ajoumal called Art Today in 1981 with Shuvaprasanna. In 1987, Chowdhury joined Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan as professor of painting. Besides his numerous activities, Chowdhury has written extensively on contemporary art.
Always a powerful artist, Chowdhury developed his individual style after his return from France in the late '60s. Although Chowdhury has painted oils, his forte is painting in ink, water colour and pastel. The sinuous line contouring the flaccid figures, the crosshatching to achieve tonal variations distinguish C'howdhury's paintings which show men and women m enigmatic situations with provocative gestures placed in a dark dream- space. There is a bit of the theatre of the absurd. Chowdhury lives and works in Sandniketan.