This rather unusually titled exhibition seeks to present a slice of Mumbai’s art history during the 1960’s ,70’s and 80’s.
The exhibition explored the relationship of trust and friendship that often existed between collectors and gallerists and the great art collections that grew as a consequence – whether intended or unintended. This show focused on the founder of the Jehangir Nicholson collection whose growing interest in art in the late 60’s and early 70’s coincided with the establishment of two prominent galleries in Mumbai – Chemould and Pundole. Frequent visits to the galleries of Kekoo Gandhy and Kali Pundole and long discussions on art helped Nicholson build the foundations for one of the best private collections of modern Indian art in the country. It was at their galleries that Nicholson met several artists including MF Husain, Tyeb Mehta, Akbar Padamsee and Laxman Shreshtha, who became close friends, and with whom he shared many an evening, discussing art.
The association with Kekoo and Kali helped build the core strength of the collection – paintings of the Progressive Artists group of Mumbai that traced the various phases in their development. Kekoo and Kali were pioneers in the promotion of art, providing a platform for artists to show their work, introducing struggling new artists and new trends in art. Above all they provided a creative space for artists allowing them to focus on their work, relieving them of the need to search for a market.
The exhibition celebrated the contribution of these 3 pioneers as the two galleries completed 50 years of promoting art in Mumbai and the JNAF was approaching the centenary year of Jehangir Nicholson in 2015.