Born in an educator’s family in a small town in Gujarat, Bhavsar studied to be a drawing teacher and began his career in Chanasma, then joining C. N. School in Ahmedabad for its five-year diploma course in art offered by Bombay’s Sir J. J. School of Art, while studying for his masters in teaching art simultaneously. As a twenty-seven-year-old, he learnt about the possibilities of further education from a class fellow’s father, and enrolled in the Philadelphia Museum College of Art to study industrial design, but once there, changed course to study painting at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Here, he met Janet Brosious, artist and art educator, and she joined him in New York (they married later in 1978), and in 1970 he had his first show at Max Hutchison Gallery.
Bhavsar is an abstractionist known for his colour field works, preferring to work on large canvases, and uses pigments that have a longevity more than most other artists for his use of natural and organic materials. These large paintings invariably have an Indian title, linking his works closely to the land of his birth and youth, and they often address subjects or myths familiar to those of us from India – whether in a literal or abstract sense. ‘Bhavsar is at once a thoroughly American painter and product of Indian culture,’ Carter Ratcliff, art writer, said of him. Indeed, the duality has never been in doubt. Bhavsar’s Indian roots are obvious and apparent, yet his celebration of Indian colours is also an ode to America’s colour field artists.
Well established and widely appreciated, Bhavsar was, and remains, nevertheless, an Indian artist in every sense of the term, even though he has lived and worked in New York for over five decades and has an established presence there.