Asit Kumar Haldar
INDIAN MODERN ARTIST
- Born in 1890 in Jorasanko, Calcutta, West Bengal, India
- Died in 1964 in Jorasanko, Calcutta, West Bengal, India
- Lived and worked in Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India
UNDERSTANDING THE ARTIST
A pillar figure of the Bengal School and Shantiniketan, Asit Kumar Haldar had ties to the Tagore family. He was born in Jorasanko and had familial ties to Rabindranath Tagore, who was his grandmother's brother. Haldar was instrumental in establishing the Kala Bhawan (Art's faculty) at Shantiniketan, where he served as the Principal from 1911-23, promoting various cultural activities with Rabindranath Tagore.
In 1909, Haldar along with Nandalal Bose was invited by Christina Herringham, a British expert on mural techniques, to copy the cave paintings at Ajanta. Apart from the fluid and lyrical beauty of the subjects, the concept of depicting a narrative in art had a massive impact on Haldar. Subsequently, he undertook similar expeditions at the Buddhist caves of Bagh and Jogimara, copying frescoes while retaining his own distinctive style. Drawing upon the rich cultural heritage of India, he painted 32 paintings based on Buddha, thirty canvases on episodes from Indian history, illustrations of Omar Khayyam's verses as well as his deeply spiritual interpretations of Mahabharata. This diversified and unique understanding of Indian history and mythology brought him to the attention of both critics and public.
Aspects of Rajput and Pahari miniature paintings find a way into Haldar's work. The emphasis on detail and precision in technique and the prominence of mythological, historical and literary themes in art can all be found in Haldar's work. However, it was not a blind imitation of the old but an innovation of a uniquely nouveau style amalgamating the old with something new.
Haldar worked with equal ease in oil, tempera, watercolours and a special technique that he developed called 'lacit'-lacquered painting on wood. The use of mythological and literary styles in art gave his works an unprecedented grace and beauty. Haldar and the Literary World
Asit Haldar, A Mystery, 1940, Watercolour on paper pasted on board
Asit Haldar, Black princess (study), oil on canvas
Asit Haldar, Lady seated under tree, Watercolour on paper
Asit Haldar, Maiden in love, gouache on paper
Asit Haldar, Mother and child, watercolor
Asit Haldar, Rhythm and light, Gouache on paper
Asit Haldar, Young Krishna being fed by Yashoda, water color
Asit Haldar, Untitled, watercolor on paper
Asit Haldar, Swing and Song (+mother; pair) ,oil on wood