Sawlaram Haldankar

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Not to be confused with his sons G. S. Haldankar, also a painter, and Babanrao Haldankar, a classical musician.

Sawlaram Lakshman Haldankar (1882–1968) was a well-known Indian painter.

Early life[edit]

Haldankar was born into a family from Sawantwadi, which was then a Princely State and is located today in Maharashtra state. He showed early talent in the arts and this was noticed by the headmaster of his school in Sawantwadi. The headmaster commended the talented student to the Raja of this tiny state, who encouraged the young lad to develop his talents.

After Haldankar completed his schooling, the Raja gave him a scholarship to study at the Sir J.J. School of Art, Bombay. Haldankar duly enrolled and studied under the tutelage of famous artists Mahadev Vishwanath Dhurandhar and Cecil Leonard Burns. He soon distinguished himself by winning several prizes at a young age and exhibiting his work at several exhibitions. He was accomplished in both watercolors and oils, with a special mastery over portraits.

Career[edit]

After graduating from the J.J. School of Arts, Haldankar accepted a teaching job at the same institution and served there for some years. In 1908, he left the J.J. School of Art and founded the Haldankar Fine Arts' Institute in Bombay. Later, with some friends, he founded the Art Society of India in 1918 and became its first president. Many painters were trained by Haldankar, both at J.J. School of Art and at Haldankar Fine Arts' Institute.

Haldankar's works have been exhibited in Mumbai, Madras, Simla and the Royal Society of British Artists, London. He was awarded two commendation certificates by the Royal Society of British Artists. He was awarded the Governor's Prize by the British Government of Bombay Presidency in the years 1910, 1927 and 1932. After independence, S.L. Haldankar was felicitated by the President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. He was also felicitated as a fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. An Italian encyclopedia (available at a library in Wai in Satara district of Maharashtra) ranks Haldankar as one of the three finest watercolorists in the world.

His works can be found in several prominent museums, including Prince of Wales Museum (Mumbai), National Gallery of Modern Art (New Delhi), National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, Jaganmohan Palace Museum (Mysore), Moscow Academy of Art (Russia), Nagpur Museum (Nagpur) and Delhi Art Gallery. Perhaps his most famous painting is Glow of Hope, also known as Woman With the Lamp, [1] which is currently exhibited at Jaganmohan Palace in Mysore ( Karnataka State ). This painting is often incorrectly attributed to Raja Ravi Varma, however in fact it was painted by Haldankar himself. The young girl in that painting is none other than his own daughter.

Personal life[edit]

As per Indian custom, Haldankar was married at a very young age to a lady of similar family and background, in a match arranged by their parents. The marriage was happy and conventional and was blessed with seven children, being four sons and three daughters. The four sons were Gajanan, Madhukar, Babanrao and Vijayanand (ordered by age). His eldest son Gajanan, better known as G. S. Haldankar, grew to be a renowned painter, and he specialized in watercolors. The third son, Babanrao Haldankar, is a noted classical singer. The three daughters were decently married into respectable families, as arranged by Haldankar and his wife.

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