Born: 1933

Himmat Shah - Paintings


Himmat Shah was born in Lothal, Gujarat in 1933 and grew up in surrounded by the remnants of a prominent port city of Indus Valley Civilisation. He moved to Bhavnagar as a young boy and studied at Gharshala, a school affiliated to Dakshinamurty, the intellectual and cultural centre of the nationalist renaissance in Gujarat. As a youth, he would have witnessed the freedom of India. At Gharshala, Himmat found his initiation into a practice through artist-educator Jagubhai Shah even before joining the J J School of Art in Bombay, and then moving on to Baroda on a government cultural scholarship from 1956 to 1960.

As a young artist at Baroda Himmat Shah learnt avidly from N.S. Bendre in whom he saw the image of a modern artist, and from K.G. Subramanyan whose quest for language and appraisal of folk art stimulated him. His propensity for drawing was both natural and necessary. Himmat Shah was a member of Group 1890, a short-lived artists' collective founded by J. Swaminathan. The then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, opened the group's first and only show in 1963. The group dispersed soon after, and each of its members, including Himmat Shah, continued their artistic practices. Himmat Shah then received a French Government scholarship on the recommendation of Octavio Paz, the poet diplomat. He went on to study etching at Atelier 17 under under SW Hayeter and Krishna Reddy in Paris in 1967. As a medium, Himmat would use the surface effects of printmaking on his sculpture, revealing an ability to dynamically interpret different materials. Himmat’s own engagement with an international modernism was fostered by the two years that he spent in Paris, studying, traveling around the museums of Europe.

On his return from Europe, Himmat’s early works indicated his chosen path. It comprised a group of free-standing sculptures in terracotta and stoneware-flags with a totemic feel, cluster of forms that mimicked life in an ancient settlement perhaps. From 1967 to 1971, Himmat Shah designed and executed monumental murals in brick, cement and concrete at St. Xavier's School Ahmedabad. Since then, he started working on relief in plaster in a series called silver paintings and soon sculptures – in terracotta as well as bronze. He shifted to Delhi and subsequently to a studio at Garhi started that became an artist's laboratory, where he would experiment with clays and slips to develop a unique vocabulary in terracotta. In 2004 – 2005, Himmat Shah worked on his bronze sculptures, getting them cast at a foundry in London. His best known work remains the heads in terracotta and bronze. Even today, Himmat Shah continues to extend his search for his own medium and craft, pushing boundaries in sculpture as well as drawing, out of his studio in Jaipur, established in the year 2000.

Himmat Shah - Artworks

Text Reference:
Excerpt from the book An Unreasoned Act of Being ’Sculptures by Himmat Shah’ by Gayatri Sinha published by Mapin Publishing and Lund Humphries in 2007.


  • Sahitya Kala Parishad Award, New Delhi, 1988
  • All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) Award, New Delhi, 1996
  • Kalidas Samman, Government of Madhya Pradesh, India, 2003


  • An Unreasoned Act of Being: Sculptures by Himmat Shah
  • Drawings by Himmat Shah
  • High Relief by Himmat Shah
  • Silver Paintings by Himmat Shah
  • Terracotta by Himmat Shah

Top 10 Auction Records

Title Price Realized
Untitled USD 166,023
Untitled USD 158,125
Untitled USD 155,552
Untitled USD 86,250
Untitled USD 84,975
Untitled USD 78,000
Untitled USD 72,381
Untitled USD 69,454
Untitled USD 53,566
Head of a King USD 47,150