Modern Indian Painting - Connoisseurship & the Passion of Art Collecting

Modern Indian Painting

Robin Dean, Kito de Boer and Akshay Chudasama

MUMBAI, April 9, 2019: Asia Society India Centre recently hosted Modern Indian Painting: Connoisseurship and the Passion of Art Collecting at Pundole’s in Mumbai. The panel included Kito de Boer, who along with his wife Jane Gowers is a noted collector of Indian art; Akshay Chudasama, a Managing Partner at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas who has collected art for over twenty years and Robin Dean, a Specialist in Indian art at Pundole’s, who moderated the conversation.

Mr. Dean began by prompting the collectors to share what motivated them to begin acquiring works of art. For Mr. de Boer, art, much like food and cinema, was a point of engagement with Indian culture when he first arrived in the country with his family. Mr. Chudasama stumbled into collecting by having an office located in heart of the downtown art district of Mumbai, where he would frequent galleries with friends over lunch.

The conversation went on to cover the changing landscape of collecting in India and how having access to information and expert advice can develop a new audience and market for art. Mr. Chudasama agreed that access to expert advice is easier in the digital age, noting “everything is available on an app”. He added that galleries too are more forthcoming with information, often publishing pages of information ready for a walk-in guest to pick up. Mr. de Boer spoke of his experience visiting the 2019 Kochi Muziris Biennale, where he was guided by a well informed art mediator. Regarding conceptual art he noted, “Without somebody to explain what these artists are saying, you can miss 80-90% of it…you feel limited by your ignorance, and all it takes is to listen, to learn, to hear and to reach out to bridge that feeling”.

The speakers then shared what collecting means for generations that follow. For Mr. Chudasama, the most important role of a collector is to maintain objects of historical significance for generations that follow. While he was uncertain about the future of his collection of art, he intends to share his collection of books with an institution or library. Mr. de Boer discussed the recent publication ‘Indian Modern Painting - The Jane & Kito de Boer Collection’, which surveys Indian art through a historically tumultuous century. His intention with this publication was to use his collection as a vehicle to share a meaningful story of India.

In his closing remarks Dadiba Pundole summarised the two collector’s fairly distinct approaches to building exquisite collections of Indian art and invited guests to join him for a champagne reception that followed the discussion.

Watch the complete programme here: https://asiasociety.org/video/modern-indian-painting-connoisseurship-an…

As reported by Alekha Ranjitsinh, Programme Assistant, Asia Society India Centre.

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