As a part of V.A. Mali’s centenary celebrations, the Art Society of India and the Bombay Art Society held a felicitation ceremony at the Coomarswamy Hall, Museum on Monday.
Vasantrao Anantrao Mali is one of the best ever portrait of this country. It was not just look alike portraits but some more dimensions plus. He comes from an artist’s family. He studied at J.J. School of Art and at the age of 22, he achieved mastery in painting. The Bombay art society presented him with gold medals. He painted all types of work – landscapes, still-life, portraits and figures but it was in portraits primarily that he excelled. His portraits are on the walls of Parliament, high courts and in homes of the elite. His portrays not only include the elite and the famous but also the ‘aam admi’ – monkey tamer, the tuntunwala, Kadaklaxmi, the peacock seller, the famous Nepali seller smoking a pipe.
At the age of 100, he has become a little frail, his memory almost lost, but he fondly remembers his art of portraiture, his studio in Girgaon with huge glass windows, skylight and a stage, his success as a portrait painter when he was selected to do the portrait of chief justice Beaumont and his friends and collegues in the Art Society of India like N.S. Bendre, S.L. Haldankar, Baburao painter, K. Hebbar, B.V. Talim and Prafulla Dhanukar. He is happy with association with the Art Society of India to which he has contributed for more than 60 years as President, chairman and committee members. The current President of the Art Society of India, Prafulla Dahanukar says that throughout his life, Mali has always showered love, affection and happiness on everyone around him.