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Anjolie Ela Menon

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  • 5310-36x24
  • 20110208064005-anjolie
  • 20110208064207-ela-2
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  • 20110208064645-crowfrm
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  • 20110208064913-kabadi-bazar
  • 20121214012855-00920121214
  • 20150401143415-4


Burnpur, West Bengal

Birth year

Lives in

Works in



Throughout her career as a painter, Anjolie Ela Menon has regularly re-envisioned her role as an artist. Menon's early canvases exhibited the varied influences of van Gogh, the Expressionists, Modigliani, Amrita Sher-Gil, and M. F. Husain. Mainly portraits, these paintings, according to the artist, “were dominated by flat areas of thick bright colour, with sharp outlines that were painted 'with the vigour and brashness of extreme youth'.” Menon admits that her work has undergone tremendous changes with every phase of her life and that as she has grown older, the narcissism of the early years has been transformed into nostalgia for the past.

Menon took up art while still in school, and, by the time she was fifteen, had already sold a couple of paintings. Finding the J.J. School of Art academically stifling, in 1959, at the age of twenty, Menon departed India to study art in Europe on a scholarship from the French Government. There, she was influenced by her exposure to the techniques of medieval Christian artists. While at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Art in Paris, she began to experiment with a muted palette of translucent colours, which she created by the repeated application of oil paint in thin glazes. Painting on hardboard, Menon enhanced the finely textured surface of her paintings by burnishing the finished work with a soft dry brush, creating a glow reminiscent of medieval icons. Menon utilized the characteristics of early Christian art – including the frontal perspective, the averted head, and the slight body elongation – but took the female nude as a frequent subject. The result is a dynamic relationship of the erotic and the melancholy. Menon has developed this iconography of distance and loss in her later works through her thematic depiction of black crows, empty chairs, windows, and hidden figures.



Anjolie Ela Menon

1940 -   Burnpur, West Bengal, India


  • Bachelors in Literature, Delhi University, Delhi
  • 1959-61 Atelier Fresque, Ecole Nationale des Beaux Art, Paris
  • Exhibitions

    Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2010 'Through the Patina', organized by Vadhera Art Gallery at Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
  • 2007 ‘Menongitis-Three Generations Of Art’, Dhoomimal Gallery, New Delhi
  • 2006 ‘Celebration’, Gallery ArtsIndia West, Palo Alto
  • 2005 ArtsIndia West, Palo Alto
  • 2004 Gallery ArtsIndia, New York
  • 2003 Vadehra Art Gallery at Shridharani Gallery, Delhi
  • 2002 ‘Four Decades’, Vadehra Art Gallery at National Art of Modern Art(NGMA), Mumbai, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad, Bangalore
  • 2000 ‘Gods and others’, Apparao Galleries at Admit One Gallery, New York
  • 1996 Vadhera Art Gallery, Hong Kong
  • 1996 Mutations, organized by The Gallery, Madras, at Wallace Galleries, New York
  • 1988 ‘Retrospective 1958-88’, organized by The Times of India, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 1976 Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
  • 1963 Alliance Francaise, Mumbai
  • 1959 Gallery 59, Mumbai
  • Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2010 'Figure/Landscape - Part One', Aicon Gallery, New York
  • 2009-10 'Unclaimed Spaces', Gallery Threshold, New Delhi
  • 2009,10 'Master Class', The Arts Trust, Mumbai
  • 2009 'Indian Art After Independence: Selected Works from the Collections of Virginia & Ravi Akhoury and Shelley & Donald Rubin', Emile Lowe Gallery, Hempstead
  • 2009 'In Search of the Vernacular', Aicon Gallery, New York
  • 2009 'Kalpana: Figurative Art in India', presented by The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) at Aicon Gallery, London; The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)
  • 2008 'X at the rate of Jehangir', presented by Art Musings at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
  • 2008 'Mapping Memories – 2, Painted Travelogues of Bali and Burma, Gallery Threshold, New Delhi
  • 2007 ‘Sitaaray - A Galaxy of Artists’, Indian Habitat Centre, Delhi
  • 2005 ‘Drishti’, Bodhi Art Gallery, New York
  • 2004 ‘Confluence 2004’, Gallery ArtsIndia, New York
  • 2004 ‘Jiva- Life, Contemporary Indian Painting’, Bodhi Art Gallery, New York 2001 Saffronart and Apparao Galleries, Los Angeles 2001 Saffronart, Hong Kong
  • 2001 ‘Kitsch Kitsch Hota Hai’, organized by Gallery Espace, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
  • 2001 ‘The Sacred Prism III’, organized by Apparao Gallery, London, New York, San Francisco
  • 1993 ‘Reflections and Images’, Vadehra Art gallery at Jehangir Art gallery, Mumbai
  • 1986 ‘Indian Women Artists’, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai
  • 1980 Exhibition at Washington D.C and New York
  • Recent Exhibits

    Anjolie Ela Menon participated in these exhibits:

    Mar, 2015 Recent Works
    Vadehra Art Gallery (VAG) - D 40 Defence Colony
    Jan, 2015 Preview – Art for Concern – The Charity Auction – Delhi 2015
    India Habitat Centre - Visual Arts Gallery
    May, 2014 Graphic Prints
    Gallerie Alternatives
    Mar, 2014 Immutable Gaze Pt. I
    AICON GALLERY - New York
    Dec, 2013 When High and Low Art Meet…
    Art Alive Gallery, GURGAON
    Nov, 2013 When High and Low Art Meet…
    Lalit Kala Akademi Galleries - New Delhi
    Click here to see all exhibits for Anjolie Ela Menon
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