Bendre was born at Indore. In 1929, he took admission to the Holkar College, Indore and in 1933, he passed his B.A. examination from Agra University. In 1934, he passed his Diploma in Painting from the State School of Art, Indore.

In 1945 he went to Shantiniketan and worked with Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar Baij, and Binode Behari Mukherjee. In 1950 he joined the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara as the first Reader and Head of the Department of Painting. Later he became the Dean of the Faculty. He left the University in 1966.

In 1955, Bendre received the National Award from the Lalit Kala Akademi for his work, Thorn. In 1969, he received the Padma Shri award and in 1992, he received the Padma Bhushan award. In 1974, he received the fellowship of the Lalit Kala Akademi. In 1984, the Visva Bharati University conferred him the Aban-Gagan Award and Madhya Pradesh state government conferred him the Kalidas Samman (1986-87).