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Amrut Vaan

Born in a Jain family, Amrutlal Vaan completed his primary education in Pilucha and then came to Palanpur for further studies. While in his hometown, he had imbibed a deep love for nature and this provided the foundations of his lifelong attachment to art.


Mr. Vaan’s passion for art got a boost in Palanpur, thanks to the encouragement he received from teachers like Shri Tulja Shankar Shukla. He could not complete his matriculation, and came to Mumbai with a desire for art still burning in him. He joined the renowned Sir J. J. School of Arts for formal training and obtained a Diploma (G D Art) (First Class) in painting in 1934.

Oil painting by Amrut Vaan

He later blended western and eastern styles in his creations and combined western colour schemes with Indian subjects. He was also a master of the art of doing portraits and landscapes. Mr. Vaan was a role model for many, and his paintings reminded one of all time greats like Rembrandt and Turner. A special mention must be made of his association with creating sketches of some cartoon characters like Bakor Patel and Shakri Patlani, who later became legends in Gujarati children’s literature.


After completing his studies, he began his career in Palanpur and over the years established himself among the front ranking portrait painters of the country. He also became a State Artist of the Palanpur State and made some remarkable paintings of royal dignitaries like the Maharaja of Vadodara, Kashmir, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Nawab of Radhanpur etc.

Oil painting by Amrut Vaan

Besides painting, he was a sculptor as well and created some masterpieces including those of the Lion Couple, poet Narmad and Kirti Stambh of Palanpur. He also began a sculpture of Saraswati, but breathed his last before it could be finished.


Mr. Vaan also worked as a painting teacher in Gurva High School and some of his paintings are preserved in the school hall. His love for photography is also well-known and there is a need to further research his work in this field.


Several of his students are big names in the field including Prem Raval, Rasik Soni and Popat Raval. 


Mr. Vaan had a weak physical constitution, and contracted cancer because of his addiction to tobacco, but he never gave up his passion for art. He died in harness while working on a sculpture of Saraswati.

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