Kattingeri Krishna Hebbar, one of the great personalities had his roots in Udupi district. K K Hebbar, who created a niche in the field of art was known as a responsive and sensitive artist. Though he studied western art form, his art pieces represented rich and glorious culture of his motherland.
Hebbar was born on June 11, 1911, at Kattingeri to Narayana and Sithamma Hebbar. The atmosphere in his house had inspired him to develop special taste towards art. His father was known for making clay idols of Lord Ganesha during festivals and his son Krishna helped him in his endeavor. It was Hebbar’s mother who encouraged and appreciated him, when he started painting during his childhood. This encouraged him to acquire more expertise in the field of art. His special interest towards art prompted him to discontinue formal education. The family problems also added to it. But as suggested by a well wisher, he joined Chamarajendra Technical Institute in Mysore to acquire more training in art and painting. But he was not satisfied with the way of teaching and made a move towards Mumbai.
There he joined a photographer for his livelihood and continued learning of art and painting at Chitrakala School run by Dandavathi. Later he joined the J J School of Art seeking further study.
After completing the course, he started his career as an art instructor at the J J School of Art. Along with teaching, he continued to experiment with his brush. Hebbar’s visit to famous Carl Cave gave him a new perspective and draw a sketch of the cave which won him a gold medal. Since then, Hebbar did not turn back and continued his endeavors in his field . His painting ‘Cattle fair’ based on the sale of cattle in the village fair won good acclaim all over and the painting still adorns the walls of J J School even today.
The famous art works of Hebbar include Beggars, Sunny Southfood, Mahim Dargah, peace, Musician, Holocaust, Evening Song, Kites, Life and Death, Nagamdala and many more. The greatness of Hebbar lies in his forceful strokes and impressionistic and expressionistic style. Though he followed modern style of art, he never deviated from his root. He made serious attempt to bring the strokes of local art, craft and folk culture in the modern art and gained appreciation for the same from the great artistes world-over. Though he was influenced by many, he never copied them but added his originality in his art works. He toured Europe and visited all the museums and art galleries in Italy and Paris. And he also joined the Julius Academy of Paris as a student.
As a due recognition to his contribution to the field, Hebbar won many awards. The important one include gold medal from the Academy of Fine Arts, Calcutta, Bombai Art Society, cash award from the Union Government, Bombay State Award, Lalithkala Akademi Award, Padmashri, Padma Bhushana, Varna Shilpi K Venkatappa Award, honorary doctorate from Mysore University, Soviet Land Nehru Award, and the Kannada Award