23 Jul 2008
A Veritable Treasure Trove - Art Collection at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, Bangalore
How many people know that Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath houses collections of art from early 19th century onwards? I have been a frequent visitor to their campus and have often visited the art exhibitions that are organized here on a regular basis, but somehow never went upstairs, which is where the galleries are. So, last week, at the behest of Harish Padmanabha, who incidentally is an avid art collector, I went there in search of Krishna Reddy’s prints.
I found that the Parishath has permanent galleries that showcase paintings by the Russian painter Nicholas Roerich, his son Svetoslav Roerich (whose estate is in the news for all the wrong reasons!), HK Kejriwal’s art collection, traditional and folk paintings, and leather puppets from the private collection of Nanjunda Rao.
The Roerichs’ collections are quite comprehensive and one can see Nicholas’s brilliant landscapes, Svetoslav’s fascinating portraits including those of Devika Rani and Nehru, and the Himalayan landscapes.
The Kejriwal collection features mainly the Bengal artists and a few other prominent artists from across the country. Whether these are the best works from the concerned artists is debatable, but the fact remains that it offers a fantastic opportunity to students and art lovers to get acquainted with a cross-section of some of India’s finest artists. Amrita Sher-Gil, Jamini Roy, Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, AR Chughtai, MF Husain, SH Raza, FN Souza, Shayamal Dutta Ray are just some of the names on these walls. The gamut of works (1830 to 1995) offers valuable insights into the history of art as it evolved from modernism to contemporary style. And, the art of Bengal, in particular that ranges from its folk art traditional format to its contemporary form.
The abstract graphic prints by Krishna Reddy, an internationally acclaimed printmaker are spectacular and a must watch. They are placed towards the far end of the exhibit space and one must remember to see them.
By the time I finished the contemporary art gallery my energy levels were flagging and I could not do justice to the traditional artworks, so another visit is on the cards.
Incidentally, the Parishath also has an ‘Art Mart’ where it sells works by upcoming and fairly established artists. Priced between Rs 2000 to a lakh or so, it offers a variety of pleasant pictures at an affordable price. But, if you looking for art as an investment then you need to come here armed with all the information. Also, there are various publications on sale, such as from the Lalit Kala Academy and Marg, books on art and prints.
(Published in Bangalore Mirror)
Updated on 8th Jul 2013 for title tags and labels