Old Masters Old Masters Directory

Old Master A. A. AlmelkarOn a fateful day, a great saint Sidappa Maharaj of Lachhan was visiting Gulbarga in Karnataka. The savant blessed Panditji's mother Kalamma and said "Mother you will soon get a son, a jewel of son". Dr. S M Pandit, Panditji as we call him was born on March 25th, 1916. Highly cultured and devout Pandit family soon realised that their son was blessed with extra - ordinary talent and skill.

At an early age of ten Panditji was sent under the guidance of Shri. Shankar Rao Alandkar, Gulbarga, in his childhood he was highly influenced by the works of the Europeon Artist like Michael Angelo, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, and Raja Ravi Verma. Panditji continued his art education and completed his Diploma examination from Madras School of Art at the age of 14. He came to Mumbai in 1935 and joined Nootan Kala Mandir for further studies under the guidance of Shri G S Dandavathimath and appeared for his Diploma at the renowned Sir. J. J. School of Arts. He was fortunate to have tutors like Shri K.B Chudekar. Panditji was greatly influenced by Capt. W.E. Gladstone Soleman, the then Director of Art in Sir J J School of Arts Mumbai.

Panditji received his Diploma with distinction. Thus he came under the spell of Realistic Classical Paintings.

He remained true to his medium. He has seen the rise and fall of abstract art in India. In the present enviornment, realism and pragmatism will prevail. He was inundated with work from the commercial world of Advertising and Publishing. With his unique skill and love for graceful figural composition, coupled with his mastery of the new medium of poster colours, which he was the first one to bring it to limelight in India, he showed to the art world that it can be used for painting purpose also. His colour mixing technique in poster colour medium, it being opaque, and to bring out transperancy in it, brought him fame.

Thus he was known as " Toulouse Lautrec" of India.

He made Film Stars much more glamorous than they actually were, his Calender Pictures were printed and re-printed to adorn the walls of lacs of houses.

Many young artists plunged into this realistic artfield inspired by his works.

Readers raved about the beauty of his Cover designs of FilmIndia which was a very famous magazine in 1945 - 60's.

He received a Second award at the International Exibition held at Toronto for his Cover design in 1946.

When ever he was inspired with purposeful resolution to paint, the result was not a painting but an offering. He was a painter and humble devotee oblivious of what he achieved. When he painted Portraits and enormous Imaginary Mythological Paintings he took possession of his work. Surprisingly when he started what his soul dictated, he was possessed by the subject. The Will of collective unconscious in India is deep-rooted with ideals of Ramayana, Mahabharata and ancient Indian literature and poetry.

Panditji's worldly attributes are many in thousands of works in different medium.

His great contribution to Fine Art is the life size Portrait of " Swami Vivekananda" at Kanyakumari India and number of paintings of Indian readers. This include the portraits of Mahatama Gandhi now at the new Council Hall, Mumbai and of Ex Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher, and of the then Iraq President Saddam Hussain.

The Exibition of his Paintings in 1978 at the Ravi Shankar Hall and the Indian High Commission in London and Manchester won him great acclaims.

He was later elected a Fellow of the ROYAL SOCIETY OF ARTS, LONDON (F.R.S.A) a rare Fellowship awarded to an Indian Artist.

His Paintings are in collection globally as with the Roman Art Gallery, USA, Iran, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, London and France.

Panditji was the Founder member of the Commercial Artists Guild (CAG),a Life member of Art Society Of India, Mumbai and ex-member of Karnataka State Lalit Kala Academy.

He was honoured by Karnataks State Lalit Kala Academy and Karnataka State during the Karnataka Rajyotsava Function in 1983 and 1984 respectively.

He was conferred the D.Litt. from Gulbarga University, Karnataka in 1986.

Back