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John Fernandes Self Portrait
John Fernandes Salute Mumbai award in 2004


John Fernandes was born in Beed district, Maharashtra where his father, a police office was posted on 21st August 1951. His mother was a home maker.

From a young age John used to be restless without painting, for which he had fast developed an obsession, and was encouraged to pursue his art by his late mother, Juliet, his late eldest brother, Augustine, and sister Nisha. He was sent to practise under the guidance of the late great artist, Shri KB. Kulkarni, who became his mentor.


After his graduation, John left for Bombay to seek his fortune and started working at “Interpublicity”, an advertising agency, as an illustrator for a very meagre salary. During Sundays and holidays, he used to go outdoors to paint landscapes and seascapes or to 'The Art Society of India' for sketching. John was a voracious painter and painted day and night, sometimes, even without food or water. Art was his passion, his first love. Sometimes, in just a day, he painted two or three pieces of art. As a result, there was a huge collection of his works all around his apartment. This prompted his 'Sir’, Shri. K.B. Kulkarni, and his wife, Agnela Fernandes to persuade him to showcase his paintings. John, however, needed coaxing out of his shell. He requited a push, a very hard one, being a shy person. And with a lot of reluctance from his side, eventually, in 1991, John had his first solo show in Jehangir Art Gallery, Bombay, with unprecedented success - around 85 - 90% of the paintings sold!


John came to prominence in the fine art world at a time when a lot of hype and importance was given to Modern Art, but John's views about what he painted never wavered. Whether as a young boy or till the end he was very firm about his ideologies and with his work, he engineered in a period of renewed interest in Realistic Art. Nothing and no one could change him. Because of his studies in Philosophy and Psychology, he could penetrate easily into the human mind and its nature, and analyse its behavioural patterns. He used to read a lot, especially art books, and left a huge collection. His favourite artists were Michelangelo, John Sargent, John Pike, Richard Schmidt, Russell Flint, Rembrandt, and Paul Raj, to name a few.

He had 10 to 12 glorious years of his reign in the field of Representational Art. He was at his peak when he was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure and subsequently, had to go on Haemodialysis for almost four years. He passed away on 11th March, 2007. However, his paintings are cherished by his collectors and art lovers. The family has setup this website and social media pages to keep his legacy alive and to promote John's vision of Realism art.

Solo Exhibitions

JehangirArt Gallery, Mumbai –February 1991, Sep 1993, Dec 1995, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2008

Art Pilgrim, Delhi –Feb 2001, Mar 2002

India Art Gallery –Dec 2004

Mahalsa Art Gallery –Dec 1995

P.L. Deshpande Art Gallery -Nov 2010

Art Desh–May 2014, Nov 2014

India Art Festival –Nov 2014

Awards & Tributes:

SALUTE MUMBAI Award by Mumbai Channel "In". Felicitated by the Sherrif of Mumbai, Dr. Jaganath Rao Hegde.

Nehru Centre 29th Show of Indian Masters Retrospective Exhibition of Paintings of Master Artist John Fernandes at Nehru Centre Art Gallery, Mumbai from 18th Jan 2024 to 28th Jan 2024

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