Born in the Tagore household at Jorasanko in Calcutta, Asit Kumar Haldar was initiated him into art by a traditional patua, Jhareshwar Chakravarty. Training under Abanindranath Tagore at the Government School of Art, Calcutta, Haldar learned clay modelling from traditional artists Jadunath Pal and Bakkeshwar Pal, and sculpture from Leonard Jennings. Experimenting with different styles before evolving his own, Haldar painted several memorable series History of India, Life of the Buddha and Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Linking metaphors and allegories, he raised illustrative art in India to a level never before achieved for its languid beauty. Haldar’s washes stood out for an attenuated delicacy and unusually large sizes. One of the several artists to copy the Ajanta cave paintings under Lady C. J. Herringham, Haldar also worked on copying the Jogimara and Bagh cave paintings. While teaching at Santiniketan in 1911-23, he was the first principal of Kala Bhavana in Santiniketan, and later, principal of the College of Arts and Crafts, Lucknow. In 1934, Haldar was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, London, and conferred the title Rai Sahib by the colonial British government.
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