• Welcome, Guest
  • Login
  • Sign Up
  • Your Cart is Empty.

Bhupen Khakar View Artworks of Bhupen Khakar Back to Artist

Bhupen Khakhar  is best known for his paintings, but also experimented with installations, glass-painting, ceramics and writing. But he is most of all known as a maverick, a man who defied and challenged societal norms, both through his works and life. At a time when homosexuality in Indian society was a deep taboo, he made a bold stride by not just coming out in open about his own homosexuality but also exploring it trough his works.


He worked as a chartered accountant for many years before becoming an artist.Infact, he began his career as an artist at a fairly late age, at the age of 38, that is. He joined the M.S. University; Baroda to study Art Criticism in late 1930’s and began his career as an artist, creating collages from calendar art.

Khakhar received international acclaim as an artist much before he got recognition in India, when British artist Howard Hodgkin helped him organize a solo exhibition in the late 1970s. Among his inspirations, the painter counts British artist David Hockney. Like Hockney's work, Khakhar's own initial paintings revolved around the banality, the ritualistic element of everyday existence. Khakhar also worked with his contemporaries in Baroda like Gulammohammed Sheikh, This enabled him to create a distinct visual idiom for his work, one that combined elements of traditional Indian art with contemporary themes.

Khakhar openly explored his sexuality within his works. His works are deeply thought provoking, touching on the personal and cultural implications of same-sex intimacy within Indian society. He often included himself in these amorous or contemplative scenes. The autobiographical element of his work is a starkly honest act of confession, which can be both provocative and moving.

Bhupen Khakhar didn’t quite get the recognition he deserved in his lifetime because of the overt focus on his ‘gay ‘identity and his stereotyping as a ‘gay’ artist. His art, though, went much beyond than exploring homosexuality. His works are fluid conceptions of society in which he challenges all sorts of hypocrisies and artificial barriers self imposed by a society. He has an astute understanding of human beings and their fumbling inconsistencies, something that finds deep articulation in his works. One perhaps needs a deeper engagement with Bhupen Khakhar’s works beyond the ‘homosexual’ tag.

Khakhar's paintings can be found in a number of prestigious public and private collections across the world. His works have been widely exhibited across India and the world. He has had a number of solo exhibitions in Delhi and Mumbai and in world cities like Berlin, Tokyo, London and Montreal. The artist was awarded The Padma Shri by the government of India in 1984.

Bhupen Khakhar passed away in 2003.



1964 Master of Arts (Art Criticism), Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda

1956 Bachelor of Commerce, Mumbai University, Qualifies as a Chartered Accountant

1954 Bachelor of Arts, Mumbai University, Mumbai





Selected Posthumous Exhibitions

2016-17 'Bhupen Khakhar: You can't please all", Tate Modern, London; Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Berlin

2016 'many facets of an Artist: Collections from the Bhupen Khakhar Estate', National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi

2015 'Remembering Bhupen', Sarjan Art Gallery, Vadodara

2014 'Bhupen Khakhar: From the Archive Paintings and Prints', Swaraj Art Archive, New Delhi

2013 Grosvenor Gallery, London

2012 'Aqua', Gallery Beyond, Mumbai

2012 'The Calendar Project: Iconography in the 20th Century', part of Project CINEMA CITY: Research Art & Documentary Practices presented by National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) and Ministry of Culture, Government of India at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai

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 'Masters Ltd: Limited Editions', Gallery Beyond, Mumbai

2011 'Anecdotes', Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai

2011 'Watermark II', Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai

2011 'High-Light', presented by Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai at The Oberoi, Gurgaon

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

2011 'Narrations, Quotations & Commentaries', Grosvenor Gallery, London

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

2011 'Of Humour, Wit & Satire', Gallery Threshold, New Delhi

2010 'Orientations: Trajectories in Indian Art', Foundation 'De 11 Lijnen', Oudenburg, Belgium

2010 'Summer Show 2010', Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata

2009 'Lo Real Maravilloso: Marvelous Reality', 20 Years Celebration of Gallery Espace at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi

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)

2009 'Shifting Shapes, Unstable Signs', Yale School of Art, Connecticut, USA

2008-09 'Body Chatter: An Exhibition of Contemporary Indian Art', Walsh Gallery, Chicago

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

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

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

2007 ‘Horn Please: Narratives in Contemporary Indian Art’, Kunstmuseum Bern, Switzerland

2006-07 ‘Inventing / Inverting Traditions’, Grosvenor Vadehra, London

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2003 ‘A Retrospective’, organized by The Fine Art Resource, Mumbai at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai

2003 Sarjan Art Gallery, Baroda

2002 Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

2002 'Bhupen Khakhar', Reina Sofia, Madrid; toured to The Lowry, Manchester.

2001-02 Optica Gallery, Montreal/ Charles H.Scott Gallery, Vancouver

1998 The Fine Art Resource, Berlin; The Gate Foundation, Amsterdam

1997 Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi

1995 Kapil Jariwala Gallery, London

1993 Gallery Ka-Eins, Frankfurt

1993 ‘The Spirit of India’, Galerie Nouvelles Images, Den Haag

1992 Galerie Schoo, Foundation for Indian Artists, Amsterdam

1991,94 Gallery Chemould, Mumbai

1986 Gallery Watari, Tokyo

1985 Kanoria Centre for Arts/ Hutheesingh Visual Arts Centre, Ahmedabad

1983 Knoedler Gallery, London

1983 Contemporary Art Gallery, Ahmedabad

1983 Urja Art Gallery, Baroda

1979 Anthony Stokes Gallery, London

1979 Hester van Royen Gallery, London

1972,81 Gallery Chemould, Mumbai

1967,70 Kunika Chemould Art Centre, New Delhi

1965 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

Selected Group Exhibitions

2003 ‘Sub Terrain: Artworks in the City Fold’, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin

2002 ‘Telling Tales: Narrative Impulses in Recent Art’, Tate Liverpool

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

2001 ‘Abbild: Recent Portraiture and Depiction’, Steirischer Herbst, Graz, Austria

2000 ‘A Global View: Indian Artists at Home in the World’, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

1998 ‘Private Mythology: Contemporary Art from India’, The Japan Foundation, Tokyo

1997 ‘Indian Contemporary Art– Post Independence’, organized by Vadehra Gallery, Delhi, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi

1997 ‘Colors of Independence’, organized by Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi

1997 ‘Tryst with Destiny’, organized by Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata, Singapore Art Museum

1996 ‘Contemporary Art in Asia : Traditions / Tensions’, Asia Society, New York

1996 ‘Watercolors: A Broader Spectrum III’, Gallery Chemould, Mumbai

1995 ‘100 Years: From the NGMA Collection’, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai

1995 ‘The Other Self’, Exhibition of Indian and Dutch Artists, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi / Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (1995-96)

1993 ‘India Songs: Multiple Streams in Contemporary Indian art’, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

1993 ‘A Critical Difference: Contemporary Art from India’, Aberystwyth Arts Centre Touring Exhibition, U.K.

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

1992 ‘Journeys within Landscapes’, organized by Sakshi Gallery, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

1990 ‘Ambassadors Choice’, Contemporary Indian Art from the Collection of H. E. Mrs. E. M. Schoo of The Netherlands, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi

1989 ‘The Richness of the Spirit: Selection from Contemporary Figurative Indian Art’, Kuwait Museum, Egyptian Academy, Rome

1989 ‘Open Mind’, Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Ghent

1989 ‘Artists Alert’, Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi

1989 ‘Timeless Art’, Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai, Auction by Sotheby’s

1987 Coups de Coeur, Halle Sud, Geneva

1986 ‘Contemporary Indian Artists’, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

1985 ‘East-West Encounter’, Exhibition and Symposium, Jehangir Art Gallery/ Max Mueller Bhavan/ National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai

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

1982 ‘Six Indian Painters’, Tate Gallery, London

1982 ‘Contemporary Indian Art’, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C.

1981 ‘Place for People’, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai and Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi

1979 ‘Narrative Paintings: Figurative Art of Two Generations’, ICA, Bristol, London

1979 ‘Focus: 4 Painters, 4 Directions’, Gallery Chemould, Mumbai

1978 ‘Six Who Declined to Show at the Triennale’, Kumar Gallery, New Delhi

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

1975 Inaugural Exhibition, Black Partridge Art Gallery, New Delhi

1974 Group Exhibition with Nine other artists, Rabindra Bhavan Galleries, New Delhi

1972 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

1969 Art Today I and II, Kunika Chemould Art Centre, New Delhi

1969 ‘Indian Painters ‘69’, organized by Max Mueller Bhavan, Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata

1967 ‘Seven Painters’, Gallery One, London

1965 ‘ArtNow in India’, Royal Festival Hall, London / Liang Art Gallery, Newcastle

1963 Inaugural Exhibition, Gallery Chemould, Mumbai

Joint Exhibitions

2002 ‘Contemporary Indian Art : Gulammohammed Sheikh, Bhupen Khakhar’, Walsh Gallery, Chicago

1989 ‘Splash: Images on Glass’, with Nalani Malani and Vivan Sundaram, Gallery Chemould, Mumbai Participations

2000 Kwanju Biennale, South Korea

1992 Documenta IX, Kassel, Germany

1984 Fifteenth International Art Exhibition, Tokyo Biennale, Tokyo

1978 Menton Biennale, France

1975 3rd Triennale India, New Delhi

1972 2nd Triennale India, New Delhi

1969 Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil

1968 1st Triennale India, New Delhi


Honours and Awards


1986 Asian Cultural Council Starr Fellowship, New York

1984 Padma Shri, Government of India

Back to Artists View Artworks of Bhupen Khakar