Born on August 13, 1915 in Lahore, Satwalekar is considered to be a doyen of Contemporary Indian Art. He had rich legacy left behind by his father, Pandit S. D. Satwalekar, a renowned turn-of-the-century painter and a Vedic scholar.
Madhav Satwalekar first studied at Sir J.J. School of Art, before going to Europe (1937 to 1940) to study at Florence Academy (Italy), Slade School (London) and Academic Grand Chamiers (Paris). He won the Mayo Medal in 1935.
His Portrait and landscape paintings and paintings on traditional mythological subjects in oil and watercolor, used to enjoy public patronage and the everyday life of the common man was also finding an expression in his art.
Satwalekar's first exhibition was in 1945, at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, which was a testimony to his talent perfected by years of creative learning. After that Satwalekar has had over 30 solo shows in Europe, Middle East, in Uganda, Kenya and Zanzibar (1949 - 50) apart from shows in India.
In the seventies and the eighties, Satwalekar served as the Director of Art, Maharashtra State. He is also the co-founder of the Indian Art Institute for spreading awareness of art. Many private and public Institutions in India and abroad feature the artist's work.