Akbar Padamsee

Akbar Padamsee an inveterate modernist was born in 1928 and received his diploma from the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai. He left for Paris in 1951 and lived and worked there till his return in 1967. In 1962, Padamsee was awarded a gold medal from the Lalit Kala Akademi, and in 1965 a fellowship from the J.D. Rockefeller Foundation. Subsequently he was invited to be an artist-in-residence by Stout State University, Wisconsin. In 1967 a solo exhibition of his paintings was held at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, Canada, after which he returned to India. Among several shows he has had major retrospectives in Mumbai and New Delhi in 1980. He has participated in the exhibitions, Seven Indian Painters, Gallery One, London in 1958'Intemational Biennales at Venice; Sao Paulo and Tokyo; Museum of Modem Art, Oxford, 1981; Royal Academy of Arts, Festival of India, London 1982;Indian Artists in France, Paris 1985 among others. In 1967 he was invite

Padamsee’s pioneering spirit has allowed him to experiment with a wide range of media, from oil on canvas to photography and digital printmaking. Whatever his chosen medium, the artist conveys a command over space, form and colour.. Akbar Padamsee’s artistic oeuvre is a formal exploration of a few chosen genres- prophets, heads, couples, still-life, grey works, metascapes, mirror -images and tertiaries , across a multitude of media – oil painting, plastic emulsion, water colour, sculpture, printmaking, computer graphics, and photography. He has also written as an art critic.

Padamsee’s interest in structure and form takes shape from landscapes, and is borne from an interest in Sanskrit texts such as the Abhijanashakuntalam. He has a deep and abiding interest in Sanskrit texts, a glimpse of which finds resonance in his statement on sun-moon metascapes of the mid seventies. In an interview Padamsee says “in the introductory stanzas of Kalidasa’s Abhijnanashakuntalam he describes the sun and the moon as the controllers on time – ‘ye dve kal vighattah’, and water as a source of all seeds – “sarva beej prakriti”. I would never have thought of painting the sun and the moon together if it were not for this. I felt I could use the elements – water, earth, sky – without referring to any particular landscape – a metaphysical landscape”. His Mirror Images reflect a concern with the duality of existence. His portraits and heads are treated with the same interest in constructing form rather than in the specifics of portraiture. The only occasion when he created identifiable portraits was in 1997, with his “Gandhi” series of works on paper in water colour and charcoal. Padamsee lives and works in Mumbai.

Solo shows

2011-12 'The Body Unbound', Rubin Museum of Art, New York
2010 Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
2010 'Body Parts', The Loft, Mumbai
2010 Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
2008 ‘Sensitive Surfaces’, Galerie Helene Lamarque, Paris
2007 ‘Metascape to Humanscape’, Aicon Gallery, Palo Alto
2006 Metascape to Humanscape’, Aicon Gallery, New York
2006 Photographs (2004-06), Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
2005 Gallery Threshold and the French Embassy in India, New Delhi
2004 Retrospective of Watercolors, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
2003 ‘Critical Boundaries’, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
2002 ‘Drawing Show’, Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
2002 ‘Tertiaries’, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1999 ‘Compugraphics’, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai and Art Heritage, New Delhi
1997 ‘Imaging Gandhi’, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1996 ‘Female Nudes’, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1994 ‘Mirror Images’, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1993 Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1993 ‘Heads’, Sakshi Gallery, Bangalore
1992 Art Heritage, New Delhi
1992 Sanskriti Art Gallery, Kolkata
1988 Art Heritage, New Delhi and Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai
1986 Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1980 Retrospective of works organized by Art Heritage, New Delhi and Mumbai
1981 Urja Gallery, Baroda
1975 Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1974 ‘Metascapes’, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1972 ‘Metascapes’, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1967 Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal
1963 Gallery ’63, New York
1962 Kunika Chemould Art Centre, New Delhi
1960 Painting in Grey, Gallery ’59, Mumbai
1957 Galerie de Ventadour, France
1954 Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
1953 Gallery Raymond Creure, Paris
1952 Galerie Saint Placide, Paris

Selected group shows

2012 'Rewind , Review ... ', Gallery Threshold, New Delhi
2012 'Contemporary: A Selection of Modern and Contemporary Art', prsented by Sakshi Gallery at The Park, Chennai
2011 'Form and Formlessness', Art Alive Gallery, Gurgaon
2011 'States of Departure: Progressives to Present Day', Aicon Gallery, London
2011 'POP: Progressives on Paper', Aicon Gallery, New York
2011 'Masterclass', Dhoomimal Art Gallery, New Delhi
2010-11 'Figure/Landscape: Part Two', Aicon Gallery, London
2010 'Figure/Landscape: Part One', Aicon Gallery, New York
2010 'The Progressives & Associates', Grosvenor Gallery, London
2010 'Black and White', Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Mumbai
2010 'From Miniature to Modern: Traditions in Transition', Rob Dean Art, London in association with Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
2010 'Black is Beautiful', India Fine Art, 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
2009 'Indian Art After Independence: Selected Works from the Collections of Virginia & Ravi Akhoury and Shelley & Donald Rubin', Emile Lowe Gallery, Hempstead
2009 'Sacred and Secular', India Fine Art, Mumbai
2009 'Think Small', Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi
2009 'Progressive to Altermodern: 62 Years of Indian Modern Art', Grosvenor Gallery, London
2008 'Faces', Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai
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
2007 ‘Winter Show’, Aicon Gallery, Palo Alto
2006 Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA) Gallery, Kolkata
2006 ‘Shadow Lines’, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2006 'Drawing Show an Act of Art II', Priyasri Art Gallery, Mumbai
2005 Contemporary Indian Art, Nehru Center, London
2005 ‘Visions of Landscape’, Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
2005 Ashta Nayak: Eight Pioneers of Indian Art', Aicon Gallery, New York
2005 Gallery Threshold, New Delhi
2004 ‘Anticipations’, Fine Arts Resource, Mumbai
2004 ‘Concept and Form’, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi
2004 Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
2002 Saffronart and Pundole Gallery, New York
2002 'Words and Images', Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
2001 Saffronart and Pundole Gallery, New York
2001 'Engendering Images of a Woman', Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
2000 'Rare Collection' Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
1999 'Creative Process', Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
1998 'Drawings', Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
1997 Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
1997 ’50 Years of Indian Art’, Mohile Parikh Centre for Visual Arts (MPCVA), Mumbai
1996 ‘Modern & Contemporary Paintings: One Hundred Years’, London
1995 Indian Contemporary Paintings, London
1994 ‘Mirror-Image Series’, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1993 Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai
1993 Reflections & Images, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
1992 Sanskrit Art Gallery, Kolkata
1992 Group Show with Laxman Shreshtha & Jogen Chowdhury, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1991 ‘National Exhibition of Contemporary Art’, National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi
1991 ‘State of the Art’ First Computer Art Show in Mumbai, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
1990 Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai
1989 ‘Timeless Art’, Mumbai
1988 Cymroza Art Gallery, Mumbai
1987 Festival of India in U.S.S.R, Moscow
1985 Indian Artists in France
1985 ‘Artistes Indiens en France’ Foundation Nationale des Arts Graphiques et Plastiques,Paris
1984 Contemporary Indian Painters, Raj Bhavan, Mumbai. Organized by Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai
1982 ‘Contemporary Indian Art’, Festival of India, Royal Academy of Art, London
1981 ‘India: Myth & Reality – Aspects of Modern Indian Art’ Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), Oxford
1981 Indian Painting Today, Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai
1979 ‘Focus’, Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
1963 Gallery '63, New York
1958 ‘Seven Indian Painters’, Gallery One, London
1953 Galerie Raymond Creuse, Paris
1952 Galerie Saint – Placide, Paris


2012 'Small is Beautiful', Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai
2012 'Art for Humanity', Coomaraswamy Hall, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai
2012 'Synergy 2012', 12th Anniversary Show, Tao Art Gallery, Mumbai
2012 'Crossings: Time Unfolded, Part 2', Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi
2011 'Ethos V: Indian Art Through the Lens of History (1900 to 1980), Indigo Blue Art, Singapore
2011 'Time Unfolded', Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), New Delhi
2010 'Art Celebrates 2010', represented by Gallery Threshold at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi to coincide with the hosting of the Commonwealth Games
2010 'Master’s Corner', organized by Indian Contemporary Art Journal at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai; India International Art Fair, New Delhi
2010 'Contemporary Printmaking In India', presented by Priyasri Art Gallery, Mumbai at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai; Priyasri Art Gallery, Mumbai
2010 'Manifestations IV', Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi
2009 'Miniature Format Show 2009 - IInd Part', Sans Tache Gallery, Mumbai
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 'Harvest 2008', organized by Arushi Arts at The Stainless Gallery, New Delhi
2008 ‘The Miniature Format Show – Part I’, Sans Tache, Mumbai
1968 Indian Triennale, New Delhi
1963 Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
1963 3rd Paris Biennale, Paris
1961 2nd Paris Biennale, Paris
1959 Tokyo Biennale, Japan
1959 Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil
1955 Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
1953 Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy

Honours & Awards

2010 Padama Bhushan from Government of India
2010 Kailash Lalit Kala Award, New Delhi
2008 Roopdhar, Bombay Art Society, Mumbai
2007 Dayawati Modi Award
2004 Lalit Kala Ratna, Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
1997-98 Kalidas Samman by the Madhya Pradesh Government
1969 Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship
1967 Artist in Residence, Stout State University, Wisconsin
1965 J.D. Rockefeller IIIrd Fund, Fellowship