Hebbar - An Artist's Quest
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Hebbar - An Artist's Quest

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Item Code: NAP119
Publisher: National Gallery of Modern Art
Language: English
Edition: 2011
Pages: 185 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 11.0 inch X 8.5 inch
Weight 960 gm
About The Book

Kattingeri Krishna 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 Paris.

The definitive form begins to take shape in Heber’s work on his return from Europe. An adroit draughtsman, he won the National Award in 1956, followed by awards in the annual exhibitions of the in 1957 and 1958. Hebbar had also received the Gold Medal of the Bombay Art Society in 1947. He was the 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 Bhusan in 1989. He died at the age of 85 in 1996.

About The Author

Veena K Timmaiah is an Art historian and Writer teachings in leading art the design institutions since the past two decades. She completed her Masters in Art History at the M S University, Vadodara, after graduating in Painting from the Sir J J School of Art, Mumbai. The art historian. Writer for “A Dictionary of Modern Indian Art & Artist” published by Mapin in June 2006, she is presently working on the second edition of the same. Her writings on art and related subjects have been published in several magazines and newspapers including the Art News Magazine of India, The Indepenent, TheAsian Age, Bombay Times, Humanscape, the Deccan Herald Banglore and The Metropolis on Saturday. An ex-editor of “Pratima” a bi-annual magazine devoted to the arts, published by the /CAA, she has written catalogues for several artists including K G Subramanyam, Rekha Rao, Rameshwar Broota and Arpana Caur.

She has conducted lectures on Art Appreciation at the Sakshi Art Gallery and the British Council Division in Mumbai and for Deccan Herald in Banglore among others. Her interests include designing – She has designed logos and uniforms for various segments of the army.

She was previously teachings Art History at the Sir J J School of Art Mumbai and Art Appreciation at the National institute of Fashion Technology (Mumbai and Banglore). At present she is teaching Art, Design & Couture History at the Army institute of Fashion & Design, Bangalore and writing a weekly column on Art for the Deccan Herald, NIE.


‘An Artist‘s Quest: KK Hebbar- A Retrospective’ is the first exhibition which has been initiated and organized by the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), As the Director of NGMA, Bengaluru, I am proud and happy to host a retrospective of this great artist of Karnataka in the year of his birth centenary.

The exhibition is comprehensive and includes important works from different stages of his artistic development – from the early ‘realistic’ and representational period to the great abstract paintings of the later stage. It describes the journey of the artist as he probes ever deeper into the mystery of life and of the human condition. It follows the path of a quest where the journey is as exhilarating and significant as the destination.

The Curators of the exhibition are Rajani Prasanna, art historian Rekha Rao, artist. The exhibition is the result of their painstaking efforts. The design of the publication has been done under the expert guidance of Surabhi Gurukar and her team at Qern. I am grateful to Veena Thimmaiah for writing the text of the publication and to Shri KG Subramanyan, the eminent artist, for his illuminating essay ‘The Pleasure of Knowing Hebbar’, which is included in the publication. The Curators have been ably assisted in the organization of the show by Lina Vicent, Shantamani and Vikram Sardesai. Dr. Ashrafi Bhagat’s essay on Hebbat introduces the artist to those who purchase the portfolio of his works is being brought out at the time of the exhibition.

In addition to the paintings of Hebbar which are with the NGMA, the exhibition includes works which are on loan from various collectors and museums. I express my gratitude to the Sir J J School of Arts, Mumbai, Shri Sanjiv Bhambri, Mumbai, the Venkatappa Art Gallery, Bengluru, of the state Government of Karnataka and the K K Hebbar Art Foundation, Bengaluru for generously lending their works for the exhibition.

The Minsitry of Culture, headed by the Secretary, Shri Jawhar Sircar,a nd the Apex Committee members of NGMA, Bengaluru had conceived of this exhibition about two years ago and have encouraged us tremendously In our efforts. My special gratitude to S G Vasudev, Balan Nambiar, Ravi Kashi and Sheela Gowda of the Apex Committee for their advice and guidance at every step of the way. This is our first exhibition and they spared neither time nor effort in helping NGMA organize it. Special thanks are due to Jawhar Sircar, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, whose support has always been with us.

I also thank the officers and staff of the Ministry and Professor Rajeev Lochan, Director, GMA, Delhi, for their help and support. Last but not least, I congratulate my colleagues and staff of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru for their enthusiasm and hard work all through the process of putting together the first exhibition originating from Bengaluru.


Foreword by the Minister of Culture 7
Preface by Director of National Gallery of Modern Art, Bengaluru 9
Curator' Note 11
The Pleasure of Knowing Hebbar by KG Subramanian 13
Beats and Counterbeats by Veena K Thimmaiah 20
In Search of a New Form  
Paintins (1945-1960) 34
Discovering a New Voice  
Travels 82
Paintings (1961-1975) 95
Portrait Gallery 116
Silappadikaram 132
Arriving at a New Direction  
Yakshagana 140
Paintings(1976-1995) 149
Biography 180


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