Jehangir Sabavala, Padmashree awardee and master artist, died at Breach Candy Hospital on Friday morning of complications caused by lung cancer. He was 89.
"Jehangir had been unwell for two years and was frequently in and out of hospital," said close friend Lavesh Jagasia, an art entrepreneur.
The renowned Parsi painter is survived by wife Shirin and daughter Mafreed. He was cremated at Chandanwadi, Marine Lines, on Friday afternoon, in keeping with his wishes.
Jagasia met Sabavala a week before his death and said the dapper artist was his usual energetic self, "dressed perfectly in a crisp shirt and cravat."
Sabavala, known for the integrity and unique language of his art, created only five or six canvasses a year but was known as a pioneer of the contemporary Indian art scene.
"Despite studying art in London and Paris, Sabavala returned to India to practice here and develop his own unique art language," said Pheroza Godrej, owner of Breach Candy's Cymroza art gallery.
He was a very giving, generous person, adds Geeta Mehra, owner of Sakshi art gallery, which organised a retrospective of Sabavala’s works four years ago. "His works had a haunting and magnetic aura. He nurtured many young artists and had time for everybody. It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that he is not with us any more."