India's Modernist painter One of the most celebrated of India's Modernist painters, Tyeb Mehta, was known for his work breaking auction records and who became a national hero. In 2005 his 1997 painting 'Mahisasura,' an image of the Hindu buffalo-demon defeated by goddess Durga, sold at Christie's New York for $1.58m, the highest price ever paid for the work of a living Indian artist. It was also the first time a piece of contemporary Indian art had crossed the million-dollar mark. Another painting by the artist sold for $2m in 2008. Tyeb initially worked as a film editor and continued to make films long after he became a painter, winning a Filmfare Critics Award for his 1970 documentary 'Koodal,' shot in a slaughterhouse. His work appeared in many international group exhibitions of Indian contemporary art, including shows at the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England; the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington; and the Grey Art Gallery at New York University. Tyeb Mehta won a gold medal for painting at the first Triennial in New Delhi in 1968, and in 1974 the Prix Nationale at the International Festival of Painting in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. As his civic acknowledgments, Tyeb Mehta won India's high government award, Padma Bhushan, in 2007 and in 2005 prestigious Dayawati Modi Foundation Award for Art, Culture and Education. Born in the rural state of Gujarat in the family engaged in the movie business, Tyeb Mehta maintained a frugal and reclusive life. A frail, soft-spoken less suited to the role, he died of cardiac ailment, in Mumbai, his home city.
Compiler: M. Nauman Khan