Asitkumar Haldar (1890-1964)
Haldar was born in Jorasanko, a grand-nephew of Rabindranath. From an
early age he showed an aptitude for drawing and joined the Government
Art School in Calcutta when he was still a young boy in 1906. The Indian
Society in London sponsored a visit to the Ajanta Caves for the purpose
of copying the frescoes there; Asitkumar and a number of other students,
under the guidance of Mrs Herringham, went there twice.
For the period 1911 to 1915, he was an art teacher at the Santiniketan
Vidyalaya. After spending a few years copying cave paintings and teaching
at the Government Art College, he returned to Santiniketan. It was during
this period, 1919 to 1921, that Kala Bhavana was founded and he was in
charge of it. During his stay in Santiniketan he acted in most of the
plays by Rabindranath that were staged. He designed sets and introduced
alpana patterns as a form of decoration. He also illustrated a
limited edition of Gitanjali.
After spending a short while in England with Pearson in 1923, he returned
to India to join the Maharaja of Jaipur Art School. In 1925, he joined
the Government Art College in Lucknow and later became its Principal.
His books on art, translation of Sanskrit classics, his poems, songs and
essays bear evidence of his versatility. He was the first Indian to be
elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London. In his book Ravitirthe
he has acknowledged his debt to Rabindranath Tagore and Santiniketan in
helping to establish him as an artist.