Hebbar was born in 1911 in Karnataka and received his diploma from the Sir J J School of
Art in 1938. He taught art at the School from 1940 to 1945. While being influenced by the
academic style taught at the School, Hebbar felt a strong urge to paint in a genre which
drew from traditional Indian art. A visit to Europe in 1949 exposed him to some of the
best works in western art and he finally settled down to study at the Academy Julian in
The definitive form begins to take shape in Hebbar's work on his return
from Europe. An adroit draughtsman, his studies like Mahim Darga won him the National
Award in 1956 to be followed by awards in the annual exhibitions of the in 1957 and
195 8. Hebbar had also received the Gold Medal of the Bombay Art Society in 1947. He was
Chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi in 1980 and President of the Bombay Art Society in
1990. The Padamshri was awarded to the veteran artist in 1961 and the Padma Bhushan in
1989. He died at the age of 85 in 1996.
Among several important shows both in India and abroad, Hebbar had
participated in international exhibitions like the Venice Biennale, the Sao Paulo Biennale
and the Tokyo Biennale. His concern with the human condition made him focus on themes like
poverty, hunger and the destruction wrought by war and the nuclear explosion. At the same
time he was acutely sensitive to music and dance and once having learnt the dance form
Kathak had made many paintings in brilliant hues of dancers and performers. He will be
best remembered for his eminently human paintings which draw from Indian colors and forms.
K.K. Festival in Slum
Oil on canvas
36" x 40"
K.K. RitualOil on canvas
40" x 48"
K.K. The NestOil on canvas
47.2" x 71"
K.K. EcstasyOil on canvas
30" x 40"