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Somalal Shah

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Name  Somalal Shah

Somalal Shah somalal shah Ashok Khant

Somalal Shah (1905–1994) was an Indian painter and art teacher. Born in Kapadvanj and educated in Mumbai and Calcutta, he spent three decades painting and teaching art in Bhavnagar in Saurashtra, Gujarat.


Early life

He was born to a shopkeeper Chunilal and Jekorben on February 14, 1905 in Kapadvanj, Gujarat, India. He studied briefly at Gujarat College in Ahmedabad and Kalavant Karkhana in Baroda. He joined Sir J. J. School of Art, Mumbai in 1926. He further studied at Indian Society of Oriental Art, Calcutta established by Abanindranath Tagore.


On Ravishankar Raval's advise, he joined Dakshinamurti, an educational institute established by Nanabhai Bhatt, as an arts teacher. Dakshinamurti published a portfolio of fifteen paintings titled Rang Rekha in 1934-35. He earned fondness of royals of Bhavnagar State. Dakshinamurti moved out of Bhavnagar in 1939. So Somalal taught briefly at Kumarshala and Gharshala. He joined Alfred High School in 1944 on request of the royals of Bhavnagar state. He taught arts there for two decades.

He died in 1994.


He attempted to use European techniques on Indian subjects. He also worked in styles of Indian miniature paintings and the Bengal revivalist movement. He avoided heavy oil colour strokes and muted sepia tones. As he studied in Culcutta, he was greatly influenced by Nandalal Bose and Abanindranath Tagore. He used a wash technique which later became his signature style. He lived in Saurashtra region of Gujarat for almost three decades where his works depicted the culture and people of the region. He also illustrated the book on the birds of Kutch and Saurashtra.


He was awarded the Ranjitram Suvarna Chandrak in 1949. In 1990, he received the Ravishankar Raval State Award for Arts by the Government of Gujarat. In 1988, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation felicitated him. He was also the recipient of an award from the Gujarat Lalit Kala Akadami.


Somalal Shah Wikipedia