Born in 1992 in a Mumbai-based Parsi family, Jehangir Ardeshir Sabavala was a renowned Indian painter of the 20th century. The artist lived and worked in Mumbai throughout his life. His mother was from a respected Jehangir Cowasjee family. He married Shirin Dastur, whom he met at LSE (London School of Economics). In his early works, he practiced modernist mode with a classical touch and created vast & still landscapes, figures, and seascapes. Later, he painted cityscapes with middle and light tone pure colors to describe his imaginations. Sabavala died on September 2, 2011 at the age of 89.
Education & Work
Jehangir Sabavala completed his schooling from one of the reputed schools in Mumbai - Cathedral & John Connon School. He later studied at Elphinstone College and earned a degree in diploma course from Sir J. J. School of Art (Mumbai) in the year 1944. Later, he studied arts from the best known art colleges across the world - Heatherley School of Fine Art (1945–1947) in London, as well as Academie Andre Lhote (1948–1951), Académie Julian (1953–54), and Académie de la Grande Chaumière (1957) in Paris.
Sabavala was remembered by his colleagues and friends as one of the great artists for splendidly using oils in his artwork. His palette illustrated mastery over color, texture, and light, with an illusory discern of depth. His career spanned across for more than 60 years. His first solo artwork was displayed in a rented room of the Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Hotel.
He participated in more than 30 solo exhibitions in India and abroad, including “Ricorso” displayed at the Sakshi Gallery in Mumbai in 2008 and at Aicon Gallery in New York in 2009, “Jehangir Sabavala: A Retrospective” was displayed at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi and Mumbai in 2005-2006, “Occasions of Light” organized by the Mumbai’s Sakshi Gallery at Shridharani Gallery in Delhi, Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai, and Gallery Artsindia in New York, Eminence Designs along with Apparao Galleries organized an exhibition at the Jehangir Art Gallery to display his artwork in 1998, “Pilgrim, Exile, Sorcerer” was displayed in 1993, “Jehangir Sabavala Paintings” were displayed at the Black Partridge Art Gallery and Gallery Chemould in 1973-75.
Besides, he also participated in multiple group exhibitions across the globe, including “Form and Formlessness” at the Art Alive Gallery in 2011, “Anecdotes” at the Sakshi Gallery in 2011, “High-Light” displayed at The Oberoi (Gurgaon) and by Sakshi Gallery (Mumbai), “Figure/Landscape: Part Two” at Aicon Gallery in London in 2010-11, “Figure/Landscape: Part One” at Aicon Gallery in New York, “The Modernists” at RL Fine Arts in New York in the year 2010, “Master Class” at The Arts Trust in Mumbai in 2009, “Trends and Techniques - Water Color in India” at Galerie 88 (Kolkata) in 2005, “The Search” in 2004; and “Palette 2001” at Palette Art Gallery in New Delhi in 2011, to name a few.
Awards and Accolades
In the year 1977, Jehangir Ardeshir Sabavala was honored with the Padma Shri award by the Government of India. A film on his life, “Colours of Absence”, earned the National Award in the year 1994. He also received Kala Ratna from All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (Delhi) in 2001 and Dadabhai Naoroji Millennium Award in 2002. In 2007, the President of India awarded him with the Lalit Kala Ratna from the Lalit Kala Akademi (National Academy of Arts in India).