Anjolie Ela Menon (born 1940) is one of India’s leading contemporary female artists. Her paintings are in several major collections. Most recently (2006), a major work “Yatra” was acquired by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, California. Her preferred medium is oil on masonite, though she has also worked in other media, including glass (pictures of glass sculptures) and water colour. She is a well known muralist. She was awarded the Padma Shree in 2000. She lives and works in New Delhi.
Anjolie Ela was born in West Bengal of a mixed Bengali parentage. She went to Lawrence School, Lovedale in the Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu. By the age of 15, when she left school, she had already sold a few paintings. Thereafter, she briefly studied at the Sir J.J. Institute of Applied Art, Mumbai and later earned a degree in English Literature from Delhi University, where she studied at the famous women’s college, Miranda House. During this time, she was drawn to the works of Modigliani, and Indian painters, M F Husain and Amrita Shergil. At 18, she held a solo exhibition with fifty-three paintings of a variety of styles. Her creative brilliance got her a French Government scholarship to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Before returning home, she travelled extensively in Europe and West Asia studying Romanesque and Byzantine art.
After returning, she married her childhood love, Raja Menon, an Indian Navy officer, who later retired as an Admiral. Since marriage she has lived and worked in India, the U.S.A., several countries in Europe, Japan and the erstwhile USSR, and had over thirty solo shows in these countries. She is also a well known muralist and has represented India at several shows.