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Trace four decades of art with Jehangir Nicholson

What: The Jehangir Nicholson gallery at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) is showcasing a collection of 20 paintings by renowned artist Ram Kumar, which have been collected over four decades by art collector Jehangir Nicholson. The collection traces the growth of Kumar’s oeuvre through his career, and cover the period from 1958 to 1999. These artworks are now the focus of the exhibition, Ram Kumar: Works in the Jehangir Nicholson Collection.'

Untitled, 1978, oil on canvas
Untitled, 1978, oil on canvas

Nolw: Kamini Sawhney, curator, Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation, throws light on the works, “These cover significant phases in Kumar’s growth as a painter: the early figurative period, followed by the gradual shift from the figure to the landscape, explored in the archetypal form of the eternal city – Varanasi, Hinduism’s most sacred centre.

The Dream, 1958, Oil on canvas
The Dream, 1958, Oil on canvas

Several works mirror his journey from the expressionist-abstract aspect that he employed in the late sixties, to the serene lyricism of the 1970s and the ’80s and later, the dissolution of the landscape in a cosmic imagery.”

Untitled, 1996, Acrylic on canvas
Untitled, 1996, Acrylic on canvas

Kumar played a significant albeit unintended role in Jehangir Nicholson’s collection, as gallerist Dadiba Pundole relates. By the 1980s, the Indian art market was looking up, and a few respected artists could command a good price for their work. Nicholson, who, till then, was used to paying for paintings in the several hundreds, was reluctant to make the upgrade to a several thousand and his collecting came to a standstill in the early ’80s. One evening in 1986, he walked into the Pundole Gallery where he spotted a Ram Kumar in the corner.

Varanasi, 1964, Oil on canvas
Varanasi, 1964, Oil on canvas

After a few casual questions about its price, the Pundoles were surprised to find Nicholson pay for the painting and walk away with it. Ram Kumar put an end to the Nicholson drought and got him back to collecting art works with a renewed passion, after which there was no looking back.

Where:
Till August 25, 10.15 am to 6 pm
At Jehangir Nicholson Gallery, East Wing, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Fort.
Call 22029613

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