Himmat Shah was born in 1933 at Lothal in Gujarat. After initially training as a drawing teacher, he studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts of M.S. University, Baroda, from 1956 to 1960. He was a National Cultural Scholar in 1956, and received a French Government scholarship to study etching at Atelier 17, Paris in 1967.
Shah was a member of Group 1890, a short-lived artists’ collective founded by J. Swaminathan. The then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, opened the group’s first and only show in 1963.
In 2016, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art held hammer on the square, a retrospective showcasing Shah’s famous terracotta sculptures, bronzes, and drawings, along with lesser-known murals, burnt paper collages and silver paintings.