I had heard a lot about eminent artist Madhav Satwalekar and had seen images of his paintings but had never met him. I decided to invite him to present an exhibition of paintings at my art gallery – Indiaart Gallery at Pune. Many artists discouraged me stating that it will not be easy to persuade him and in all likelihood he will turn down the invitation. I fixed up an appointment with him and went to see him at his home at Kalanagar, Bandra, Mumbai. After hearing me out, he readily accepted my proposal and we developed a bond which was to last till he passed away.
I knew that he had an impressive academic background and career (won the Mayo medal at Sir J J School of Art and went to study art in Europe including at Slade School of Fine Art). His father was none other than Pandit Satwalekar, who was a scholar as well as a painter.
Exhibition of paintings at Indiaart Gallery, Pune
The exhibition at Indiaart Gallery, Pune, from 4th to 30th January 2004, was a big success on all counts. We all got to see the distinct blue line in his paintings that he was known for. Many art collectors were delighted to see so many original paintings of Madhav Satwalekar at the exhibition and several were picked up by them.
All artists respected Shri. Madhav Satwalekar not only because he was an eminent artist with an impeccable track record and an illustrious pedigree but also because while serving as the director of art for state of Maharashtra, he had carried out much needed reforms in art education. Apart from the exhibition, an open interview with Madhav Satwalekar was organised on the sidelines of the show and this event was heavily attended. Here are details about the exhibition and the wonderful media coverage it received.
I continued to interact with him over the years and found him to be a very warm and affectionate person below the veneer of the aloofness that he was known for. His wife Smt. Kusum Satwalekar was exceptionally warm in every interaction that I have had with her. Whenever I visited them at their Bandra home, she made it a point to remember and offer my favourite biscuit with tea.
The flash floods in Mumbai inflicted heavy damage on his studio which was on the ground floor of his residence at Kalanagar. Several paintings were damaged. This was a huge loss and a deep shock for him, from which he probably did not recover.
Condolence meeting at Indiaart Gallery, Pune
We organised a prayer and condolence meeting to pay our respects and tribute to Shri. Madhav Satwalekar. The meeting was chaired by Shri. Diwakar Dengle, former Principal of Abhinav Kala Mahavidyalaya, Pune. Those who spoke on this occasion included Dr. Nalini Bhagwat, S. D. (Shi Da) Phadnis, D. S. Khatavkar and Sadhana Bahulkar.