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Modern & Contemporary Indian Art (ASN0003) Modern & Contemporary Indian Art (ASN0003) ASIT KUMAR HALDAR (1890 - 1964)
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Private Collection, Rajasthan
“Haldar's art is like a seer's or a poet's vision, which enriches the soul, inspires the mind and ennobles the ignoble…” reprinted from Mukti Mitra: Asit Kumar Haldar – Lalitkala Akademy
Asit Kumar Haldar studied under Abanindranath Tagore at the Govt. College of Art and Craft, Calcutta and became part of the movement dedicated to breaking away from Academic realist painting and using Orientalist wash painting as a base to create a new visual language. Not restraining himself to one pictorial format, throughout his life he experimented with different styles, techniques and themes, working with lacquer, tempera, oil, watercolours and sculpture, though his works in the revivalist mode are considered his strongest.
A poet and artist, Haldar instilled his work with a strong lyrical content that leaned toward literary narrative. He was successful in expressing a great deal with delicate lines and washes, and sometimes enhanced his paintings with decorative elements. Haldar made thirty two paintings on the life of Buddha and illustrated numerous poems including twelve from Omar Khayyam. This series of four works presented here fall under his illustrative style. Each work narrates part of a story, the characters, architecture and landscape clearly set in Persia, with touches of colour bringing depth to the simple compositions and fine contours of the stylized forms.
Haldar was part of the project to make copies of the Ajanta murals, sponsored by Lady Herringham between 1909 and 1921. He was Principal of Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan from 1911-23 where he assisted Rabindranath Tagore, and the head of Govt. College of Art and Craft, Lucknow from 1925-45. In 1934 he became the first Indian Fellow of the Royal Society of Art, London, and in 1938 had the honour of inaugurating his own Hall at the Allahabad Museum, Allahabad. His work is part of the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Rothenstein Museum, London, and all the major museums of art in India.