Ganesh Haloi
Ganesh Haloi Ganesh Haloi

b - 1936

Ganesh Haloi

Born in Jamalpur in present day Bangladesh on 9 February 1936, Ganesh Haloi migrated with his family to Calcutta upon Partition.

From 1952-56, he studied at the city’s Government College of Arts and Crafts, where he acquired his personal style of sophisticated elegance and finish. Upon graduation, he joined the Archaeological Survey of India
and was assigned the documentation of the cave paintings of Ajanta from 1957-63.

At around the same time he began his artistic career primarily as a painter of landscapes. The picturesque landscapes of a homeland imprinted as childhood memories inspired his imagery of tender, verdant, moisture-laden vistas in his paintings. Human presence was erased from his visual panorama, giving way to a sublime conversation between land and sky, air and water. By the mid-1970s, Haloi was acknowledged as an accomplished landscape painter who could evoke metaphysical essences within an ordinary landscape.

The transformation that began in the ’70s consolidated in the Metascape series of 1978, which demarcated a gradual transition from realism to abstraction. Since then, Haloi has made a significant contribution in building up a trend in contemporary painting of using abstract vocabulary to depict nature that goes beyond visual documentation, yet conveys the poetry of nature.

The artist, who lives in Kolkata, has received many honours such as seven gold medals from the Academy of Fine Arts, seven silver medals from the University of Calcutta, the Rabindra Bharati award, and the Shiromani Puraskar, among others.

‘The desire to create is abstraction. It is from this that a world exclusively one’s own comes into being. From understanding, art leads to wonder!’


artist timeline


Born on February 9 in Jamalpur village in Mymensingh district in present-day Bangladesh.


Joins Government College of Arts and Crafts and graduates in 1956.


Wins gold medal from the Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta, and again in 1956, 1957, 1963, 1964, 1966 and 1970.


Joins the Archaeological Survey of India as a sketcher to make copies of the Ajanta cave paintings; continues till 1963. Years later, he would remember his time spent there fondly: ‘I was drowned in an ocean of creativity’. Around the same time, in the early 1960s, he begins his artistic career as a painter of landscapes.


First solo show at Artistry House, Calcutta.


Returns to Calcutta and joins the Government College of Arts and Crafts where he teaches till his retirement.


Participates in the annual group shows of the Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta, and All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS), New Delhi, every year through 1995.


By the middle of this decade, establishes himself as an accomplished landscape painter who evokes metaphysical essence in ordinary landscapes


Is inducted as a member of the prestigious Society of Contemporary Artists, Calcutta; participates in all its annual group exhibitions from 1971 to 1995.


The Metascape series marks the culmination of the transformation that began earlier in the decade, demarcating a gradual transition from realism to abstraction; goes on to build a formidable body of work that depicts nature in abstract form beyond visual documentation.


Participates in group show at the Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta. Is featured in group show, ‘Metascapes’, at Chitrakoot Art Gallery, Calcutta


Is part of ‘Indian Contemporary Artists: Multiculturalism and Internationalism through Art’ in Melbourne. Receives the Shiromani Puraskar and the Rabindra Bharati award, both conferred by the Government of India.


‘Wounds’, a group show, at C.I.M.A., Calcutta, and National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, features Haloi. Participates in another group show at Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay.


Is part of ‘Indian Contemporary Art’ at Gallery Maya, Hong Kong.


Is part of a group show on watercolourists at Bose Pacia, New York


Is part of a ‘Metascapes’ group show in Kolkata and Chennai.


His work is included in a group show curated by Manjit Bawa for Societe Asiatique in Gurgaon.


Participates in ‘Drishti/Vision: Indian Contemporary Artists’ at Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur. Is part of joint exhibition ‘As Within So Without’ with Prabhakar Kolte in Mumbai.


‘An Art Sublime’ at Aicon Gallery, New York: a solo show on Ganesh Haloi Galerie Müller & Plate, Munich, exhibits works by Ambadas, Haloi, Rajendra Dhawan, Kolte and Tun Sein.


One-man show at Art Musings, Mumbai. Solo show ‘Unwanted’ at Gallery Sanskriti, Kolkata.


Is represented at Shanghai Art Fair. Participates in group show ‘Moderns’ at Royal Cultural Centre, Amman, Jordan, organised by the Lalit Kala Akademi.


Is part of ‘Above and Beyond and Figure/Landscape: Part Two’ at Aicon Gallery, London.


One-man show, ‘Ganesh Haloi in Linear Abstraction’at Bengal Gallery of Fine Arts, Dhaka.


Haloi’s works feature in Documenta 14, both at Athens, Greece (April 8-July 16) and Kassel, Germany (June 10-September 17).


Publishes Amar Katha, an autobiography. The artist lives and works in Kolkata.


dag exhibitions

‘Indian Landscapes: The Changing Horizon’

DAG, New Delhi, 2012

‘The Printed Picture: Four Centuries of Indian Printmaking'

DAG, New Delhi, 2012

The ‘Manifestations’ series of 20th Century Indian Art, Editions VII, VIII, X

DAG, New Delhi, 2012-14

‘Indian Abstracts: An Absence of Form’

DAG, New Delhi, Mumbai, New York, 2014-15

‘India Modern: Narratives from 20th Century Indian Art’

DAG, New Delhi, Mumbai, New York, 2015

‘The Printed Picture: Four Centuries of Indian Printmaking’

DAG, Mumbai, Jaipur, 2016

‘New Found Lands: The Indian Landscape from Empire to Freedom’

DAG, New York, 2021

notable collections

Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi

National Museum of India, New Delhi

National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi

ITC Limited Private Collection, across cities in India

archival media

The Times of India

9 May 1993

The Hindu

11 October 1998