Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Important milestones in Gallery Chemould’s journey

  • Gallery Chemould, founded by Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy, is one of India's oldest established (1963) commercial art galleries. It has the distinction of having represented major artists, such as Tyeb Mehta, S.H. Raza, Bhupen Khakkar, Nalini Malani, Atul Dodiya and Jitish Kallat, emerging from the first waves of India's modernist and contemporary art movements, in first-time solo shows.
  • The Gandhy's began their long association with contemporary art during the late 1940s, in the early years of the modernist art movement in post-Independence India. Their role and involvement as facilitators and promoters in this cultural climate has come to be seen as integral to the existing scene around the visual arts in the country.
  • The Chemould story started in 1941 with the establishment of Chemould Frames, Kekoo Gandhy's frame manufacturing business, through which he came to know the then young K. H. Ara, S. H. Raza, K. K. Hebbar and M. F. Husain. At a time when there were practically no venues for showing modernist art in the city Kekoo began to use his show room window to exhibit their works in specially designed frames while also promoting them to prospective clients. The show room thus became a site for small, informal solo shows such as that of M. F. Husain's in 1951.
  • In 1947 Kekoo Gandhy became the Honorary Secretary of the Bombay Art Society, the most significant art institution in the city at that time. In 1963, Kekoo was offered the opportunity to run a small gallery space on the first floor of the Jehangir Art Gallery. He named it Gallery Chemould and started a select sponsoring art gallery. Through the 1950s, 60s and 70s Chemould promoted Ram Kumar, Tyeb Mehta, J. Swaminathan and Sabavala, and introduced to Bombay Bhupen Khakhar, Arpita Singh, Laxma Goud, Paritosh Sen, Bikash Bhattacharjee and Ganesh Pyne.
  • Chemould's activities were spread to other parts of the country through branches in Delhi and Kolkata and through traveling exhibitions. Among the major exhibitions then organized by Chemould were: M. F. Husain's 21 Years of Painting in 1968, and the 1974 and 1987 Bombay Arts Festivals. Special Exhibitions to promote tribal and folk arts, such as that of well-known Warli artist Jivya Soma Mashe, were also conceptualized.

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