Mohan Samant was an early modernist painter and a member of the Progressive Artists’ Group, a collective of artists predominantly based in Bombay who explored Indian art history, cubism, post-impressionism and expressionism. Samant’s inspiration came from a range of sources, including Egyptian wall paintings and hieroglyphics, Indian miniatures, and artists such as Paul Klee, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.
His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions including Home Is a Foreign Place: Recent Acquisitions in Context, The Met Breuer, New York (2020); Many Tongues: Art, Language and Revolution in the Middle East and South Asia (1947-2017), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2019); The Progressive Revolution: Modern Art for a New India, Asia Society, New York (2019); Mohan Samant: Paintings, Jehangir Nicholson Gallery, Mumbai (2013); Fifty Years of Art in Mumbai, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai (1997); The Group of Eight, Contemporary Arts of India, New York (1995); and Contemporary Indian Paintings, Fukuoka Art Museum, Japan (1984).
Samant received the Asian American Heritage Award for lifetime achievement in the arts (2000); Rockefeller cultural exchange fellowship, Asia Society, New York (1959); Cultural Exchange scholarship of Italian Government, Rome (1956); Gold Medal, Bombay Art Society (1956) and Governor’s Prize, Maharashtra, India (1953).
His work can be found in the collections of Asia Society, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington; Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, Mumbai; Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington; Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Samant received his diploma from the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai (1952). Born in 1924 in Bombay (now Mumbai), he left India permanently in the late 1960s and moved to the United States where he lived and worked until his death in 2004 in New York.