Akbar Padamsee

Artist Profile

An iconic Indian artist with international acclaim, Akbar Padamsee (1928-2020) was one of the trailblazers of Modern Indian painting. Throughout his career, Padamsee steered away from categorization, and created a body of work that is fiercely experimental and individualistic. While the revered artist was primarily known as a painter, he embraced several mediums such as sculpting, plastic emulsion, printmaking, photography, computer graphics and film making.

Padamsee is often referred to as the 'intellectual artist', with his several noteworthy accolades that include being honoured with the Padma Bhushan, Kalidas Samman, a gold medal from Lalit Kala Academy and a Fellowship from the J.D. Rockefeller Foundation.

Born in 1928 into a traditional Khoja Muslim family from the Kutch region of Gujarat, Akbar pursued his diploma from Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai. Here, he became associated with the Progressive Artists Group (PAG) which included maestros such as S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza and M.F Husain. Padamsee left for Paris in 1951, where he was introduced to surrealist Stanley Hayter, who became his mentor. Padamsee stayed and worked there till 1967, before returning to India.

Akbar Padamsee's art is often interlaced with science. He is most celebrated for his depictions of Metascapes and mirror images, and the figures and heads, which he alternated between.

Padamsee’s paintings are highly valued, with the 'Reclining Nude' being sold for USD $1.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York, in 2010, and ‘Greek Landscape (1960)’, a seminal painting from his gray series, selling for Rs. 19.19 crores or $2.9 million at a Saffronart auction in September 2016! Padamsee passed away on January 6, 2020, at the age of 91, in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India.


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