- Born in 1940 in West Bengal, she pursued her studies at Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai, and then went on to obtain a degree in English Literature from Delhi University. During this phase, she was influenced by the works of artists like Modigliani and Indian painters like Amrita Shergil and MF Husain.
- At the age of 18 Anjolie Ela Menon showcased her works in much acclaimed solo exhibitions in Delhi and Mumbai. The French government offered her a scholarship to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where she studied Fresco. Menon utilized this time to travel extensively in Europe and West Asia studying Romanesque and Byzantine art before returning home.
- Her first solo exhibition was held at 71 Lodhi Estate in 1958 for which the invitation was designed by MF Husain. Her marriage into a Kerala family and the discovery of a stack of Daguerro-type early photographs in her husband’s ancestral home in Kerala seem to have inspired a series of paintings. South Indian ancestors and young ascetic poojaris and acolytes drawn from the cultural backdrop of the south appear in sepia tones in her paintings of that period, and in a few portraits in this show.
- After her marriage, Menon lived and worked in India, the USSR, the US and Germany. The trajectory of Menon’s career soared steadily upwards in the years to come. She has a ‘Buddha’ mural in the Prime Minister’s reception lounge at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and several other murals in public spaces such as the Esplanade Metro Station, Kolkata, Mumbai International Airport and many five star hotels.
- The artist has been honored with the Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian awards in India. Her works are regularly sold at all global auctions including Sotheby’s and Christies and have been acquired by several museums in India and abroad including the National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi; Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, Benjamin Gray Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; and Fukuoka Museum, Japan.
- Almost every important corporate collection in India hangs her work including Tatas, Birlas, Larsen and Toubro, TIFR, Shah House, Shell, Reliance, ITC, Times House, Hindustan Times and many others. Anjolie has represented India at the Algiers Biennale, the Sao Paulo Biennale, and three Triennales in India. She has participated in several group shows in India and abroad.
(Information courtesy: Grosvenor Gallery, London)