Partha Mitter is a writer and historian of art and culture, specialising in the reception of Indian art in the West, as well as in modernity, art and identity in India, and more recently in global modernism. He studied history at London University and did his doctorate with E. H. Gombrich (1970). He began his career as Junior Research Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge (1968-69) and Research Fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge (1970-74). In 1974 he joined Sussex as a Lecturer in Indian History, retiring in 2002 as Professor in Art History.
His publications include Much Maligned Monsters: History of European Reactions to Indian Art (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1977: Chicago University Press Paperback, 1992; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2013); Art and Nationalism in Colonial India 1850-1922: Occidental Orientations (Cambridge University Press, 1994); Indian Art, Oxford Art History Series (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002); The Triumph of Modernism: India’s Artists and the Avant-Garde – 1922-1947 (Reaktion Books, London, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2007).
Mitter was Radhakrishnan Lecturer at All Souls College, Oxford in 1992 and Getty Visiting Professor at Bogazici University, Istanbul in 2011. He has held fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts; and CASVA, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. In 2000 he was invited by the Indian Government to set up the School of Art and Aesthetics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
In 1982 he curated and wrote an introduction to the catalogue of an exhibition on the history of Indian photography for the Photographers Gallery, London. At present he is Emeritus Professor in Art History, University of Sussex, Member of Wolfson College, Oxford and Honorary Fellow, Victoria & Albert Museum, London. In 2008 he received an Honorary D.Lit. degree from the Courtauld Institute, London University.