Asit Kumar Haldar

AK Haldar (1890–1964) was an relative and one of the lieutenants of Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan. His father as well as grand father was painter. Haldar became the first Indian to be appointed as the principal of a Government Art School. He was also the first Indian to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London in 1934. The Allahabad Museum opened a large “Haldar Hall” with many of his works in 1938.

Contribution to Indian Art

  • Between 1909 to 1911, Haldar visited Ajanta documenting the paintings and made efforts to bring the cave art to a wider Indian audience. A decade later, he undertook another expedition to the Bagh Caves.
  • The art movement of Abanindra Nath Tagore succeeded to a great extent because of the assistance rendered by Asit Kumar Haldar, Nandalal Bose and Surendra Nath Ganguli.
  • As a principal of the Kala Bhavan School from 1911 to 1915, he introduced many different styles to art to the students, and revolutionized decorative and ceremonial displays there.
  • In 1923, he went on a study tour through England, France and Germany. On his return, he became Principal of the Maharaja’s School of Arts and Crafts, Jaipur where he remained for a year, before moving to the Maharaja’s School of Arts and Crafts in Lucknow. During the Europe tour, he found out that the Realism in European art had numerous limitations. He sought to balance physical attributes in proportion to the magnitude of the subject matter.

He remained a budding poet also through out his life. In his book Ravitirthe, he has acknowledged his debt to Rabindranath Tagore and Santiniketan in helping to establish him as an artist.

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