Laxman Pai

Last updated

Laxman Pai
Born(1926-01-21)21 January 1926
Died14 March 2021(2021-03-14) (aged 95)
Known forContemporary paintings
Spouse(s)Purnima Pai
Awards Padma Bhushan
Padma Shri
Nehru Award
Goa State Award
National Award
Lalit Kala Akademi Award
Mayo Medal
Gomant Vibhushan

Laxman Pai (21 January 1926 – 14 March 2021) was an Indian artist and painter. [1] He was a principal of the Goa College of Art, a post he held from 1977 to 1987. [2] Pai was a recipient of several awards [3] including India's third highest civilian honour of Padma Bhushan , awarded by the Government of India. [4] [5]


Early life

Pai was born in Margao, Goa, on 21 January 1926. [6] [7] His tryst with art was at his uncle's Mauzo Photo Studio in Margao, where he used to touch up the black and white photographs with paint. In the 1940s, he was actively involved in the Goa liberation movement for which he was arrested thrice by the Portuguese colonials. [8] He was beaten by the Portuguese police after being arrested and for this reason, his parents sent him to the city of Bombay where he studied at the Sir J. J. School of Art in Mumbai from 1943 to 1947. He was awarded the Mayo Medal in 1947. [8] [6] [9] Pai offered a satyagraha outside the Margao Police Station in 1946. [10]


Soon after completing his studies, Pai started teaching at the Sir J. J. School of Art. [8] At the same time, he participated in the activities of the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group, although he did not become its member. [10] Pai recalls that once, a nude painting by Francis Newton Souza was objected to by the then Chief Minister of Bombay State, Morarji Desai. Due to Pai's association with Souza, he was demoted. Pai wrote a letter about it to the Sir J. J. School of Art but was told to drop his accusations against the Director. He declined to do so and was expelled as a result. [8]

Subsequently, he wrote to S. H. Raza who was then in Paris. Raza made arrangements for Pai's arrival in Paris. Pai went to Paris and studied fresco and etching there. He studied at the prestigious École des Beaux-Arts and stayed in Paris for ten years. During his stay in Paris, Pai held ten solo exhibitions in the city. [11] [12]

He had to his credit more than 110 one-man shows across the globe. His solo exhibitions were held at London, Munich, Hanover, Stuttgart, New York City, Bremen, San Francisco, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Goa and São Paulo. [8] Pai learnt rosenthal porcelain art in Germany. [8] He also participated in numerous Biennials in Paris, Tokyo, Sao Paulo. [13]

Returning to India, he took up the post of the principal of the Goa College of Art in 1977 and served the institution until 1987. He was instrumental in creating the new college campus in Altinho area of Panaji. [2]

Pai's works

From 1947 to 1950 Pai was largely inspired by Goan subjects and the concept of Indian miniatures. His initial works speak about the Goan way of life, as can be seen from his paintings depicting the 'Zambaulim Shigmo' or the process of feni-making. Pai was also inspired by ancient Egyptian sculptures. He listened to music when he painted. His favourites included Kumar Gandharv, Bhimsen Joshi and Kishori Amonkar. [8] Pai painted various paintings based on different ragas of Indian classical music. In his works, he gives a visual interpretation to the moods of the music as determined by the vibrations of the notes. His painting series,'Musical Moods' (1965) was inspired by Indian classical ragas. [10] Pai used to also play the sitar and the bansuri. [8]

His paintings are on display at Ben and Abby Grey Foundation, New York Public Library, Berlin Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Paris, Madras Museum, Nagpur Museum, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, and Punjab University Museum. [2]

Personal life

Pai married Purnima, whom he had met earlier in Shimla, at the age of 40. The couple had a son. His wife had predeceased him. [14] [10]


Pai died on 14 March 2021, at his home in Dona Paula in Goa. He was aged 95. [15]


See also

Related Research Articles

The Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy School of Art is the oldest art institution in Mumbai, and is affiliated with the University of Mumbai. The school grants bachelor's degrees in fine art and sculpture, and Master's degrees in fine art.

Mario Miranda Indian cartoonist

Mário João Carlos do Rosário de Brito Miranda, popularly known as Mario Miranda or Mario de Miranda, was an Indian cartoonist and painter based in Loutolim in the Indian state of Goa.

Ram Kumar(23 September 1924 – 14 April 2018) was an Indian artist and writer who has been described as one of India's foremost abstract painters. He was associated with the Progressive artist's group along with greats like M.F. Hussain, Tyeb Mehta, S.H. Raza. He is said to be one of the first Indian artists to give up figurativism for abstract art. His art commands high prices in the domestic and international market. His work "The Vagabond" fetched $1.1 million at Christie's, setting another world record for the artist. He is also one of the few Indian Modernist masters accomplished in writing as well as painting.

S. H. Raza

Sayed Haider Raza was an Indian painter who lived and worked in France since 1950, while maintaining strong ties with India. He was born in Kakkaiya, Central Provinces, British India, which is now present-day Madhya Pradesh.

Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (1924–2001) was regarded as one of India's foremost abstract painters. He received the Padma Shri Award in 1971.

Akbar Padamsee was an Indian artist and painter, considered one of the pioneers in Modern Indian painting along with S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza and M.F. Husain. Over the years he also worked with various mediums from oil painting, plastic emulsion, water colour, sculpture, printmaking, to computer graphics, and photography. In addition, he worked as a film maker, sculptor, photographer, engraver, and lithographer. Today his paintings are among the most valued by modern Indian artists. His painting Reclining Nude was sold for US$1,426,500 at Sotheby's in New York on 25 March 2011.

Tristão de Bragança Cunha

Tristão de Bragança Cunha, alternatively spelled as Tristao de Braganza Cunha, was a prominent Indian nationalist and anti-colonial activist from Goa. He is popularly known as the "Father of Goan nationalism", and was the organiser of the first movement to end Portuguese rule in Goa.

Lambert Mascarenhas

Lambert Mascarenhas is a journalist, freedom activist and writer from Goa. His family hails from the Goan Catholic community, a Christian community in Goa.

Ravindra Kelekar

Ravindra Kelekar was a noted Indian author who wrote primarily in the Konkani language, though he also wrote in Marathi and Hindi. A Gandhian activist, freedom fighter and a pioneer in the modern Konkani movement, he is a well known Konkani scholar, linguist, and creative thinker. Kelkar was a participant in the Indian freedom movement, Goa's liberation movement, and later the campaign against the merger of the newly formed Goa with Maharashtra. He played a key role in the founding of the Konkani Bhasha Mandal, which lead the literary campaign for the recognition of Konkani as a full-fledged language, and its reinstatement as the state language of Goa. He authored nearly 100 books in the Konkani language, including Amchi Bhas Konkaneech, Shalent Konkani Kityak, Bahu-bhashik Bharatant Bhashenche Samajshastra and Himalayant, and also edited Jaag magazine for more than two decades.

Vamona Navelcar Indian painter

Vamona Ananta Sinai Navelcar is an artist from Goa, India, who has studied and worked in Portugal, Mozambique and Goa. Navelcar is based in Pomburpa village.

Goa State in India

Goa is a state on the southwestern coast of India within the region known as the Konkan, and geographically separated from the Deccan highlands by the Western Ghats. It is surrounded by the Indian states of Maharashtra to the north and Karnataka to the east and south, with the Arabian Sea forming its western coast. It is India's smallest state by area and its fourth-smallest by population. Goa has the highest GDP per capita among all Indian states, two and a half times as high as the GDP per capita of the country as a whole. The Eleventh Finance Commission of India named Goa the best-placed state because of its infrastructure, and India’s National Commission on Population rated it as having the best quality of life in India.

Goa Today is a monthly magazine published from Panjim (Panaji), the state-capital of Goa, India, since 1966, featuring news, literature and local issues. Goa Today is considered the "grand-daddy" of all monthly magazines in Goa. It was founded by Francisco Damasceno do Rosario Dantas and former joint-editor of Navhind Times, Lambert Mascarenhas, who was awarded the Gomant Vibhushan Award, the highest civilian award of Goa in 2014.

Gomant Vibhushan Award is the highest civilian honour of the State of Goa. It is given annually by Government of Goa to people of Goan origin for exceptional work in any field.

José Pereira was a Sanskrit scholar, historian, writer, artist, and linguist from Goa, India.

Museum of Goa Privately owned contemporary art gallery in Goa, India

The Museum of Goa (MOG), is a privately owned contemporary art gallery in Pilerne Industrial Estate, near Calangute, Goa, India. It has no permanent collection. At 1,500 square metres (16,000 sq ft), it is India's largest private art space. It was founded by Goan artist Subodh Kerkar.The gallery encourages experimental exhibit ideas.

The Tiatr Academy of Goa is a government body established by the Government of Goa in 2009 during the tenure of Digambar Kamat as the Chief Minister of Goa. The Academy was inaugurated on 16 January 2009 in Margao at the hands of the tiatr artist Master Jose Francisco Vaz The Academy's aim is to foster and develop Tiatr and its dances, music, songs and literature; especially the Konkani Literature in Roman script as well as through them the cultural unity of Goa as well as India.

Ravindra Amonkar is a Goan theatre artist and director and also a previous vice-chairman of Bal Bhavan Goa.He mastered the areas of dramatics and theatre art such as acting, set designing, light arrangements, sound editing, choreography, script writing, translations, background & main music direction, art direction, and production. He proved his talent through successful & prize-winning performance in competitions within and outside the state.

John Aguiar Konkani poet

John Aguiar is a Konkani poet, writer, media person and lyricist whose songs have been broadcast over the All India Radio network specially in Goa and on CDs.

Prashanti Talpankar is a writer, translator, playwright and an actor, hailing from the coastal state of Goa, India. She is also an awardee of the Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation. She currently serves as an Associate professor at Dnyanprassark Mandal's college and Research Centre, Assagao.


  1. "Christies profile". Christies The Art People. 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 "Jay Salian profile". Jay Salian. 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015.[ self-published source ]
  3. 1 2 "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 January 2018. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  4. "From Liberation struggle to Padma Bhushan: Laxman Pai". Gauree Malkarnekar. The Times of India. 26 January 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  5. 1 2 3 4 "Saffron Art profile". Saffron Art. 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  6. "Blouartinfo profile". Blouartinfo. 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Times, Navhind (21 August 2016). "The artist and his muse – Goa". The Navhind Times. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  8. "Biography Laxman Pai". Ask Art. 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
  9. 1 2 3 4 18 Sep, Lisa Monteiro /; 2016; Ist, 03:44. "The life and times of Goa's greatest living artist | Goa News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 March 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  10. 15 Mar, Lisa Monteiro / TNN /; 2021; Ist, 04:01. "Artist, Freedom Fighter, Teacher: The Colourful Life Of Pai | Goa News - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 15 March 2021.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  11. "Sothebys - Laxman Pai". Sothebys.
  12. "Laxman Pai : Artist Detail Information". Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  13. "Laxman Pai: The Life And Times of An Art Great |". Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  14. "Goan artist Laxman Pai passes away at 95". The Indian Express. 15 March 2021. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  15. Times, Navhind (9 December 2016). "Laxman Pai conferred with the Gomant Vibhushan Award".
  16. "Laxman Pai to be conferred with Gomant Vibhushan". The Goan EveryDay.
  17. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 January 2018. Retrieved 25 January 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)