Artist of the Day | Akbar Padamsee

December 21, 2017

 

Akbar Padamsee

Landscape
1965
Oil on canvas
32.75 x 32.75 in

Born in Mumbai in 1928, Akbar Padamsee graduated from the Sir J J School of Arts in 1951, with a Diploma in Painting, following which he went to live and work in France. In 1952, he was awarded a prize by Andre Breton on behalf of the Journale d’Art. Padamsee’s first solo exhibition was held in Paris in the same year at Galerie Saint Placide. 

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. Best known for his Grey Series, Metascapes and Mirror Images, Padamsee has experimented with film-making, sculpture, and 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. 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 watercolour and charcoal. 

Padamsee has exhibited his works in several solo exhibitions, including Past Forward, Priyasri Art Gallery, Mumbai in 2013; Sensitive Surfaces at Galerie Helene Lamarque, Paris, in 2008; Metascape to Humanscape at Aicon Gallery, New York and Palo Alto, in 2007; and Photographs (2004-06) at the Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai, in 2006. From 1994 onwards, Padamsee has held several solo shows at Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, including Tertiaries, Compugraphics, Imaging Gandhi, Female Nudes, and Mirror Images.  

Prices for Padamsee's works continue to escalate at auction. Greek Landscape (1960), a seminal painting from his Grey Series, set a world record for the artist at Saffronart’s Evening Sale in New Delhi on 8 September 2016. The 4.3 x 12 foot canvas, estimated at INR 7 – 9 crores (USD 1 – 1.3 million), doubled its upper estimate to sell for INR 19.19 crores (USD 2.9 million). The sale of Greek Landscape placed Padamsee among the top five highest selling modern Indian artists, including V S Gaitonde, F N Souza, Tyeb Mehta and S H Raza. 

The artist lives and works in Mumbai.
courtesy of saffronart.com

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