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Tyeb Mehta View Artworks of Tyeb Mehta Back to Artist

Tyeb Mehta was born in Kapadvanj, Gujarat in 1925. He stayed and worked in Mumbai initially as a film editor in a cinema laboratory at Famous Studios. He graduated with a Diploma in Painting from Sir J.J. School of Art in 1952. He was also a part of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group.

From 1959 to 1964, he lived and worked in London. He also visited New York where he was awarded a fellowship from the John D. Rockfeller 3rd Fund in 1968. His works absorbed the artistic influences of the places he traveleld to. While in London, Tyeb Mehta’s style was influenced by the expressionist works of Francis Bacon. When he was in New York, his work came to be characterized by minimalism,

Tyeb Mehta’s use of the flat planes of colour to conjure space and the diagonal division of it were both devices that existed in the Indian miniature tradition. His works included recurrent imagery of bulls and the rickshawpuller. Later, he also dabbled into formalist means of expression, something that led to matt surfaces broken with diagonals and imagery while while expressing a deep anguish is specifically painterly. His 1991 series Falling Figures was based on his experience of witnessing the violent death of a man during the riots during Partition in 1947. He used the ancient Indian technique of creating  multiple images to convey motion. He also uses mythological imagery and in his usage, gives a modern twist to the imagery from the repository of traditional Hindu mythology.

His film Koodal, a powerful depiction of the ordinary human being’s dilemma won the Filmfare Critic’s Award in 1970. He was also the Artist-in-Residence in Santiniketan from 1984 to 85.

Tyeb Mehta has been the recipient of several awards during his career including the Kalidas Samman by the Madhya Pardesh government in 1988 and the Padma Bhushan in 2007.

He passdd away in Mumbai in 2009.


. Education

  1947- 52 Diploma in Painting, Sir J. J School of Arts, Mumbai



Selected Posthomus Exhibitions

  2014 'Sacred / Scared', Latitude 28 Gallery, New Delhi

  2013 'Pioneers of Modernism', Sovereign FZE, Dubai

  2013 'Ideas of the Sublime', presented by Vadehra Art Gallery at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

  2012 'Modernist Art from India: Approaching Abstraction', Rubin Museum of Art, New York

  2012 'Extending the Line', Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

  2012 'Crossings: Time Unfolded, Part 2', Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi

  2011-12 'Modernist Art from India: The Body Unbound', Rubin Museum of Art, New York

  2011 'Ethos V: Indian Art Through the Lens of History (1900 to 1980), Indigo Blue Art, Singapore

  2011 ‘Manifestations VI', Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi

  2011 'Roots in the Air, Branches Below: Modern & Contemporary Art from India', San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose

  2011 'Tyeb Mehta: Triumph of Vision', Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

  2011 'Time Unfolded', Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi

  2010 'The Progressives & Associates', Grosvenor Gallery, London

  2010 'Evolve: 10th Anniversary Show', Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai

  2010 'Masters of Maharashtra', collection from Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi at Piramal Gallery, National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai

  2009 'Bharat Ratna! Jewels of Modern Indian Art', Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  1998 Vadhera Art Gallery, New Delhi

  1996 ‘Celebrations’, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

  1990 Birla Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata

  1990 Art Heritage, New Delhi

  1988 Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

  1986 Gallery Chemould, Mumbai

  1986 Nandan, Kala Bhavan, Vishwa-Bharati, Santiniketan

  1976 Black Partridge Art Gallery, New Delhi

  1969, 71 Kunika-Chemould Gallery, New Delhi

  1968 Commonwealth Institute Art Gallery, London

  1966 Taj Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1966, 67 Kumar Gallery, New Delhi

  1956,68,71,76,84,86,90 Gallery Chemould, Mumbai

  1962 Bear Lane Gallery, Oxford

  1962 Gallery One, London

  1959 Gallery 59, Mumbai

Selected Group Exhibitions

  2009 'Long Gone & Living Now', Gallerie Mirchandani + Steinreucke, Mumbai

  2009 'Progressive to Altermodern: 62 Years of Indian Modern Art', Grosvenor Gallery, London

  2009 'Kalpana: Figurative Art in India', presented by The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) at Aicon Gallery, London; The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)

  2008 'Multiple Modernities: India, 1905-2005', Philadelphia Museum of Art, USA

  2008 ‘Freedom 2008 – Sixty Years of Indian Independence’, Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata

  2007-08 ‘India Art Now: Between Continuity and Transformation’, Province of Milan, Milan, Italy

  2004 ‘Concept and Form’, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

  2001 ‘Ashtha Nayak – an Exhibition of Eight Artists’, Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai

  2001 ‘Century City – Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis’, Tate Modern, London

  2001 ‘Modern Indian Art’, organized by SaffronArt and Pundole Art Gallery, Metropolitan Pavilion, New York

  2000 ‘A Global View : Indian Artists at Home in the World’, organized by The Fine Art Resource, Mumbai at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1998 ‘Contemporary Indian Art’, organized by Vadehra Art Gallery at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1997 ‘Tryst with Destiny : Art From Modern India’, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore

  1997 ’50 Years of Art in Bombay 1947-1997’, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai

  1997 ‘Indian Contemporary Art: Post Independence’, organized by Vadehra Art Gallery, National gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai

  1996 ‘Chamatkara: Myth and Magic in Indian Art’, Whitley Art Gallery, London

  1994 ‘Seven Indian Painters’, organized by Gallery Le Monde de l’ Art, Paris

  1993 ‘Trends and Images’, Centre of International Modern art, (CIMA) Kolkata

  1993 ‘Wounds’, organized by Centre of International Modern art, (CIMA) Kolkata at New Delhi

  1989 ‘Timeless Art’, organized by The Times of India together with the auction conducted by Sotheby’s, London

  1988 ’17 Indian Painters’, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1987 Auction conducted by Christies’ of London for Helpage, India

  1987 Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad

  1987 ‘Artists Today East West Encounters’, organized by Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

  1986 ‘Coups-de-Coeur: Exhibition of Indian Paintings’, Geneva

  1985 ‘Contemporary Indian Painters’, Festival of India in USA, Grey Art Gallery, New York

  1982 ‘Contemporary Indian Art’, Festival of Indian Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London

  1982 ‘India: Myth and Reality’, Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Oxford

  1982 ‘Modern Indian Paintings’, organized by National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi, at Hirshhorn Museum, Washington DC, USA

  1981 Inaugural Exhibition, Roopankar, Bhopal

  1979 ‘Focus, Four Painters Directions’, Gallery Chemould. Mumbai

  1977 ‘Pictorial Space’, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

  1965 ‘Ten Contemporary Indian Painters’, MIT and New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, USA

  1965 ‘Art Now in India’, London, Newcastle and Ghent

  1960, 62 London Group Show

  1960 ‘Art Alive’, Northampton Museum


  2009 'Armory Show', New York presented by Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

  2008-09 'Modern India', organized by Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM) and Casa Asia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture at Valencia, Spain

  2008-09 ‘Expanding Horizons: Contemporary Indian Art’, Traveling Exhibition presented by Bodhi Art at Ravinder Natya Mandir, P.L.Despande Kala Academy Art Gallery, Mumbai;Sant Dyaneshwar Natya Sankul Art Gallery, Amravati; Platinum Jubilee Hall, Nagpur;Tapadia Natya Mandir Sports Hall, Aurangabad; Hirachand Nemchand Vachanalay’s, Solapur;Acharya Vidyanand Sanskrutik Bhavan, Kolhapur; PGSR Sabhagriha, SNDT, Pune; Sarvajanik Vachanalaya Hall, Nasik

  2008 'Moderns', Royal Cultural Centre, Amman, Jordan organized by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi in collaboration with Embassy of India, Amman,Jordan

  1982 Fifth Triennale, India

  1975 Third Triennale, India

  1974 Festival Internationale de la Peinture, Cagnes-Sur-Mer, France

  1974 Deuxieme Biennale Internationale de Menton

  1968 First Triennale , India

  1965 National Exhibition, New Delhi


Honours and Awards


  2004 Awarded Gold Medal by the President on the occasion of Lalit Kala Akademi Golden Jubilee Celebration, Delhi

  2004 ‘Manpatra’, given by Maharashtra Government, Mumbai

  1988 Awarded ‘Kalidas Sanman’, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal

  1970 Wrote and directed ‘Koodal’, a sixteen minute experimental film for Films Division, Government of India which made him won the ‘ Film fare Critics Award’

  1968-69 Rockefeller IIIrd Fund Fellowship, New York


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