The Story of Indian Art #33 – Sawlaram Laxman Haldankar

A story on the life of a famous Indian Artist Sawlaram Laxman Haldankar and a look at a few of his famous paintings.

Fact file
Born: 1882

Died: 1968
Place of Birth: Sawantwadi, Maharashtra, India
Profession: Painter

Did you know? 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.


Famous Artists Sawlaram Laxman Haldankar

Portrait of S. L. Haldankar
Sawlaram Lakshman Haldankar was born in Savantwadi Maharashtra, India on 25 November, 1882, He studied up to Matriculation at Sawantwadi. Haldankar passed the two grade Examination under the guidance of an expert art teacher, N. S. Malankar. 1903 Joined the J. J. School of Art and was trained under teachers like Ganpatrao Kedari, A. K. Trinidade and M. V. Dhurandhar. He was accomplished in both watercolors and oils, with a special mastery over portraits.

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.


Dhobis in a river near Bombay, 1916 by Sawlaram Laxman Haldankar

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.


Seashore, 1922 by Sawlaram Laxman Haldankar

Perhaps his most famous painting is Glow of Hope, also known as Woman With the Lamp. It is currently exhibited at Jaganmohan Palace in Mysore. 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.

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. They were blessed with seven children, four sons and three daughters. His eldest son Gajanan, better known as G. S. Haldankar, is a renowned painter. The third son, Babanrao Haldankar, is a noted classical singer. The three daughters are home makers.

1932, 1927, 1910, S. L.Haldankar won the Governor’s Prize. He weas alsop felicitated as a fellow, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi. In 1964, he was honoured by Rastrapati, Dr Rajendra Prasad at New Delhi. He won two commendation certificates from the Royal British Society of Art. And prizes from Sir. J. J. School of Art during his years of study there.

The Art of S. L. Haldankar
Some of the more famous works of Haldankar can be found here. You are invited to acquaint yourself with them here. 

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.


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