Jeram Patel
Jeram Patel Jeram Patel Jeram Patel Jeram Patel Jeram Patel

Jeram Patel

Jeram Patel

Jeram Patel

1930 - 2016

Jeram Patel

Jeram Patel, who earned renown as an abstractionist, was among those artists who rebelled against modernistic approaches and altered the Indian art scene of the 1960s by formulating a new visual identity and method of abstraction.

Born in Sojitra, Gujarat, Patel studied drawing and painting at Sir J. J. School of Art, Bombay (1950-55), and typography and publicity design at Central School of Arts and Craft, London (1957-59). He was one of the twelve founder members of Group 1890 who, according to their manifesto, believed in ‘the reality of the image rather than the image of reality’. The group was short-lived but it’s ideals persisted, evolving an individual vocabulary in the works of each of its members.

Patel’s syntax involved abstraction of the image and its manifestation in an evocative and potent language, of which the most well-known works are his black-and-white drawings and paintings in ink, and blowtorch and burnt wood works. A striking aspect of his blowtorch and burnt wood works was the sensuous use of colour in sharp contrast to the rough texture of the burnt area.

Drawing remained of primary importance to Patel throughout his career and his works were widely exhibited in India and abroad, including the Sao Paolo Biennale in 1963 and 1977. He was a recipient of the Lalit Kala Akademi’s national award in 1957, 1963, 1973, and 1984, and the national award for design in 1976. He passed away in Vadodara on 18 January 2016.

‘I constantly thought of forms, whether they were natural forms or man-made forms’


artist timeline


Is born on June 20, in Sojitra in the Kheda district of Gujarat.


Wins Lalit Kala Akademi’s national award.


Studies typography and publicity design at Central School of Art and Craft, London. Travels in England and France during this period.


Is represented at the Tokyo Biennale, Japan


Receives a silver medal from Bombay Art Society.


Pursues a new medium in abstraction, attempting to represent his innermost, unknown feelings, through engravings on wood, burnt by a blowtorch as a method of erasure or ‘forgetting something’.


Travels to Japan to refine his artistic sensibilities and is exposed to a multitude of mediums being worked with, and gets the idea to work with wood. Visits a Paul Klee exhibition and comes away with the conviction that the artistic process is deeply individual, confirming the path he has already embarked on.

Begins to work with blowtorch on wood, also using enamel paint on occasion.


Is part of the twelve founding members of Group 1890, alongside J. Swaminathan, Himmat Shah, Jyoti Bhatt, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, and others. They hope to create a new definition of art through their process and use of materials. Joins National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, as design consultant.


Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurates Group 1890’s exhibition at Lalit Kala Akademi in the presence of Mexico’s ambassador to India and poet of renown, Octavio Paz. Is represented in the Tokyo Biennale, Japan, and the Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil.


Is associated with Weavers’ Service Centre set up by Pupul Jayakar under the All India Handloom Board.


Serves as professor in the painting department at Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda.


An attempt to revive Group 1890 sees Jeram Patel invite members to a meeting in Baroda.


Participates in the first, third, fourth and fifth International Triennale of the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.


Stops solely producing blowtorch woodworks. From now on he will paint the same form on paper and canvas.


Is appointed professor at Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda, where he goes on to become the dean. Receives the national award for design.


Participates in the XIV Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil.


Participates in the third World Biennale of Graphic Art, London, and the sixth British International Print Biennale, London.


Participates in the third World Biennale of Graphic Art, Baghdad. Attends a fellowship at the Royal Society of Arts, London.


Makes his Hospital series of drawings. These are similar to his crow quill and brush and ink drawings from the 1960s.


Becomes dean at Faculty of Fine Arts, Baroda. Is chairman, Board of Studies and Faculty Board, Benaras Hindu University.


Is part of the artists whose works are shown in the Festival of India, London.


Is part of the ‘Graphic-Print Exhibition’, Festival of India, U.S.A.


Is jury member at the first Bharat Bhavan International Prints Biennale, Bhopal.


Wins the Ravishankar Raval Award of the Government of Gujarat.


Exhibits as part of ‘Exhibition of 28 Contemporary Artists’, Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, University of Victoria, U.S.A. His work is also part of the third International Prints Biennale, Bhopal. Accepts chairmanship of Lalit Kala Akademi, Gandhinagar, a post he holds till 2000.


Receives Kala Ratna from the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society, New Delhi.


Rediscovers his love for blowtorch works and returns to the medium after two decades.


Has solo exhibitions in New Delhi where his torchworks are exhibited alongside his paintings.


Passes away on January 18.Kiran Nadar Museum of Art hosts his retrospective.


dag exhibitions

The ‘Manifestations’ series of 20th Century Indian Art, Editions V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI

DAG, New Delhi and Mumbai, 2011-14

‘The Naked and the Nude: The Body in Indian Modern Art’

DAG, New Delhi, 2013; Mumbai, 2015

‘Indian Abstracts: An Absence of Form’

DAG, New Delhi, 2014; Mumbai and New York, 2015

‘India Modern: Narratives from 20th Century Indian Art'

DAG, New York, New Delhi, Mumbai, 2015; Chandigarh, 2017

‘Group 1890: India’s Indigenous Modernism’

DAG, New Delhi, Mumbai and New York, 2017

‘The Sixties Show’

DAG, Mumbai, 2020

‘The Wonder of India: Explorations through 19th and 20th Century Art’

DAG, New York, 2021

‘Indian Blue: From Realism to Abstraction’

DAG, New Delhi, 2021

‘Iconic Masterpieces of Indian Modern Art’

DAG, Mumbai, 2021

notable collections

National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi

Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi

Lalit Kala Akademi, Ahmedabad

Roopankar Museum of Fine Arts, Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal

Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, Cologne

Royal College of Art, London

Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts

archival media

The Indian Express

14 March 2004

The Hindu

20 October 2006

The Pioneer

10 February 2009

The Indian Express

19 January 2016