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 Tyeb Mehta  (1925 - 2009)

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Lived/Active: India      Known for: painting and sculpture

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Ad Code: 1
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Untitled (Figure on Rickshaw)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born in Gujarat, Mehta spent his early years working as a film editor in a cinema laboratory. His love for painting and an introduction to the workings of the Bombay Progressive Artists Group redirected his path to the Sir J.J. School of Art where he graduated in 1952. From 1959 to 1964 he lived in London, and was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship; it brought him to the United States in 1968, where his work went through several stylistic changes. He is regarded as one of India’s greatest artists, and his work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions around the world. He was first among Indian artists to sell work at auction for over $1 million. In his lifetime he was awarded the Prix Nationale in Cagne-sur-Mer, in 1974, and received the Kalidas Samman from the Madhya Pradesh State Government in 1988.He was also awarded Gold Medal by the President of India on the occasion of Lalit Kala Akademie golden Jubilee Celebration in 2004. He passed in 2009.
Source:
Christie's, Mumbai

Biography from Sutlej Art Gallery:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born in Gujarat in 1925, Tyeb Mehta believes, "In art you have to go on for a long time before you can say 'I have done something.'" Initially a film editor, his interest in painting led him to the Sir J.J. School of Art, Mumbai from where he graduated in 1952. Between 1959 and 1964 he lived and worked in London. He also visited the US on a Rockefeller Fund Scholarship in 1968.

Like most other artists of the Progressive Artists Movement in India, Mehta could trace his influence to the European masters. His inspiration came from the macabre distortion used by artist Francis Bacon, which can be traced even today in his handling of the face or the body. Of his early works, Mehta has this to say: "When you are young, you try to understand the world. As you grow old, you try to understand yourself. Your work then becomes the essence of these efforts."

While he is also known to have adopted the pictorial language of European art through the 1950s and '60s, Mehta turned to 'Indian' themes and subjects through the '70s and '80s. This return to Indianness has been a characteristic of most of his contemporaries. S.H. Raza returns time and again to the Tantric Bindu and Akbar Padamsee came back home to study Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy, a study that inspired his monochromatic metascapes. From painting images of rickshaw-wallahs and the trussed bull, Mehta has narrowed down his search for the eternal in the complex, layered images and concepts of Hindu mythology. Through the '90s his imagination was captured by the myth of the Devi - as Durga, Kali, Mahishasura Mardini, the slayer of the demon Mahishasura.

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