Tyeb Mehta

Tyeb Mehta was born in Kapadvanj, Gujrat, India (1925-2009). He lived and worked in Mumbai, India. He began his career as a film editor and although he successfully experimented with filmmaking, he concentrated on painting following his training at the J.J. School of Art. There, he befriended Akbar Padamsee and joined the Progressive Artist’s Group, with whom he exhibited in several occasions. In 1959, he left for London, where he remained until 1964. Mehta’s work was highly laborious, even in his youth he would produce about half a dozen works a year. Demand for his works increased, particularly for his canvases of the 1970’s and thereafter, and with such a limited supply his prices rose sharply in 2003. It was then that ‘Mahishasura’ sold at auction for $1.7 million, the highest anybody had ever paid for a piece of contemporary Indian art. His meticulous style and preoccupation with formalist means of expression led to matt surfaces, broken with diagonals, in which he increasingly used ancient imagery and mythological figures. In 2007, the Government of India awarded him with the Padma Bhushan, one of the highest civilian honours.