Akbar Padamsee was born in Mumbai to a Gujrati family. He first started painting while he was in St Xavier’s Boys School under his art teacher. He joined Bombay Progressive Artists Group in 1947, while he was still a student of J.J School of Art. It became one of the most influential art groups in India and his contemporaries included M.F Husain, Ramkumar and S. H Raza.
In 1950, he travelled to France with his friend S.H Raza. In Paris, he was introduced to French surrealist Stanley Hayter, who later became his mentor. Padamsee later joined the studio Altier 17. Though widely spoken of as a modernist, Padamsee continues to resist easy categorization. Throughout his illustrious career spanning six decades, he has remained fiercely experimental and individualistic. Renouncing the rich colour palette of his early years, he chose to paint in grey between the years 1959 - 1960 stating, “Grey is without prejudice; it does not discriminate between object and space”. These monumental works have been widely recognized for their rich and poetic quality. Since the seventies, his work is seen to alternate between two major genres, luminous metascapes - his signature works, and the human figure which he continues to imbue with an arresting presence.
1949: JJ, School of Art, Mumbai
Solo : 1954, 60: Mumbai; 1980: Mumbai, N. Delhi; 1980: Retrospective Exhs., Art Heritage, Mumbai, N. Delhi; 1993: Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai;
The Times of India Auction of Timeless Art(1989), Sotheby's, Mumbai; 1991: National Exposition of Contemporary Art, NGMA;
International : Galerie Saint Placide, Paris (1952); Venice Biennale, Italy(1953) ; Seven Indian Painters Gallery One, London(1958) ;Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil(1959); Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal(1967); Festival of India, Royal Academy of Art, London (1982) ; Modern ft Contemporary Indian Paintings-One Hundred Years, Sotheby's Auction, London (1996)
1965: JDR Illrd Fund Scholarship; 1970: Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship.
LKA, NGMA, IGNCA, New.Delhi, BAS, Mumbai, BAAC, Kolkata and many institutional, public and private collections in India and abroad.