Born on September 21 in Lahore in British India as Muhammad
Abdur Rahman Chughtai, in a family of artists and craftsmen; learns
to draw from his father, Mia Karim Baksh, and the art of naqqashi
(repousse) from his uncle, Baba Miran Shah Naqqash.
Obtains a diploma in photo lithography from Mayo School of Art. After leaving school, works as a photographer and a drawing teacher
for a while.
His first painting appears in Modern Review, done in revivalist Bengal
He travels to Delhi to see the Mughal monuments of the city. Travels to Calcutta and apprentices under Abanindranath Tagore for
His early watercolours are in the Bengal School style featuring Hindu
and Buddhist deities and mythological characters; his works such as
Jahanara and Taj bear influence of Abanindranath Tagore’s well-known
work, The Last Moments of Shahjahan
Holds his first exhibition at Punjab Fine Art Society, Lahore.
Exhibits with the Indian School of Oriental Art.
Tours Europe holding solo shows.
Publishes his first book, Muraqqai-i-Chughtai, which is a generously
illustrated edition of Mirza Ghalib’s poetry with a foreword by
contemporary poet Allama Iqbal; it is considered the most significant
of Chughtai’s works and one of the finest examples of book production
in the country.
Is awarded the title of Khan Bahadur by the British colonial
Publishes his second book, Naqsh-i-Chughtai.
Travels to London to learn printmaking and etching at London School
of Photo Engraving.
Develops his unique painting style, influenced by Mughal architecture,
Islamic calligraphy, miniature painting and Art Nouveau; his subjects
include characters from Islamic history and mythology, Mughal kings
and queens, and stories from Punjabi, Persian and Indo-Islamic folk
Publishes his third book, Chughtai’s Paintings.
Following the partition of the subcontinent and the creation of
Pakistan, comes to be known as the National Artist of Pakistan.
Designs insignia for Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Television; becomes
the founder member of Pakistan Art Council. His publication, Amal-i-Chughtai, and original works by him are
gifted to visiting heads of state by the Government of Pakistan.
Is conferred the title of ‘Hilal-i-Imtiaz’ (Crescent of Excellence) by the
President of Pakistan.
Continues to paint in his distinctive style, though his subjects are now
Receives Pride of Performance Award from the President of Pakistan.
Passes away on 17 January in Lahore.
His family sets up his dream project, the Abdur Rahman Chughtai
Museum, in Lahore. Exhibits are changed annually.
Son Arif Rahman Chughtai publishes a book on his father, The
Challenge of M. A. Rahman Chughtai to the Bengal School of Art,
(Lahore: Jahangir Book Club).