India Now - page 51

of Rs 250,000 to the Government
of Bombay for building a public art
gallery. The great patron of art, who
was the first Indian president of the
Bombay Art Society, had realised the
great need for such an institution in
Mumbai. Jehangir Art Gallery was
finally inaugurated on January 21, 1952,
as the nucleus around which Mumbai’s
art circle would evolve and flourish. Its
inaugural exhibition was the 61st exhi-
bition of the Bombay Art Society.
The history of Mumbai is inseparable
from that of the Readymoneys and con-
temporary art history of Mumbai, and
arguably India, truly began with the
Jehangir Art Gallery. It soon became
the meeting ground for great artists,
thinkers, patrons, art lovers and gained
national and international eminence as
an art centre of repute.
The legacy of Sir Cowasji Jehangir
continued to grow stronger under his
younger son, Sir Hirji Jehangir, 3rd
Baronet. Hirji was a scholar and a
true patron of modern art. He served
as the Chairman of Jehangir Art Gal-
lery for 40 years and ensured several
far reaching changes in the system.
A collector of paintings of promising
young Indian artists, when he moved
about 2,700 sq ft auditorium has hang-
ing wall space of around 180 running
feet. The exhibition gallery has a floor
area of about 3,700 sq ft and hanging
wall space of about 370 running feet
and has climate control and security
systems. It also added a first area of
about 1,408 sq ft with hanging wall
space of about 173 running feet.
The significance of Jehangir Art
Gallery in the art and cultural his-
tory of India is immense. Since 1952,
it has consistently worked to raise
public consciousness about Indian
artists, both masters and amateurs.
It has created a demand for works of
art and a market for it while at the
same time also ensuring a steady
flow of funding through the munifi-
cence and support of patrons and
art lovers. Moreover, it has worked
consistently to bring art out of its
restrictive elitist boundaries to the
common man by making it accessible.
True art needs no fetters. Jehan-
gir Art Gallery teaches you to love
art for itself. Go fall in love—
with art and the Gallery.
In Tune:
visit to Jehangir Art Gallery is
a lesson in the cultural history of India, a
fascinating piece of past through art.
Since 1990,
K G Menon
has been
working to
promote the
Gallery as a
hub for artists,
art lovers and
K G Menon
Secretary, Jehangir Art Gallery
to a smaller mansion in 1974, he found
his home short of enough wall space
to display the canvases. He then hit
upon the brilliant idea to start a library
of original works of artists for a fixed
duration and rental. All his paintings
donated to Jehangir Art Gallery formed
the nucleus of this lending library, a
practice that continues till date. In the
next decade, it was Sir Hirji again, who
ensured that the National Gallery of
Modern Art got space to function in
Jehangir Art Gallery.
Each column, wall, pillar and roof of
Jehangir Art Gallery is steeped in his-
tory. Designed and built by illustrious
architects GM Bhuta and Durga Shan-
kar Bajpai of renowned firm Master,
Sathe and Bhuta, Jehangir Art Gallery
stands today as an epitome of design
innovation. Later, through the late
1980s and 1990s, the Gallery under-
took some aggressive modernisation in
order to come up to international exhi-
bition standards. Today, Jehangir Art
Gallery boasts of four halls with mod-
ern amenities equipped for exhibitions
of the visual arts and photography. The
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