18 Aug 2016

Art News: New Art Gallery Opens in Bangalore

Iconic portrait of renowned singer MS Subbulakshmi painted by MF Husain to be displayed at ‘Art Bengaluru’ by Navrathan’s Art Gallery


MF Husain’s iconic portrait of MS Subbulakshmi, the world renowned singer and foremost proponent of Carnatic music, will be displayed by India’s newest art gallery, Navrathan’s of Bangalore. Navrathan jewellers have been a familiar destination for Bangaloreans since 1954. The sign of the iconic `nine jewels’ – the nine auspicious planetary gems – has lit up 18 MG road and attracted a stream of clients eager to acquire their signature gold jewellery. The man behind the legendary success of Navrathan jewellers is Mr. Gautam Chand Bafna, a connoisseur of arts, who has now extended his patronage to include fine and decorative arts; modern and contemporary Indian paintings, European paintings, antiques as well as interior décor, period-style furniture, porcelain, glass, silver and sculpture.

The painting of MS Subbulakshmi will be displayed in Bangalore thanks to the efforts of Mr. Gautam. As a sponsor of Bangalore’s premier annual art event – Art Bengaluru, which launches on 19th August at UB City, Navrathan will unveil and showcase Husain’s portrait of `M S’ as Subbulakshmi was affectionately known, as the centrepiece of their display.

Portrait of a Legend

MS Subbulakshmi painted by MF Husain at ‘Art Bengaluru 2016’ by Navrathan’s Art Gallery, Image courtesy Thomas Jose
Navrathan’s Art Gallery presents portrait of MS Subbulakshmi painted by MF Husain at ‘Art Bengaluru 2016’
The monumental portrait, 6 ft x 4 ft, an acrylic on canvas depicts the virtuoso singer holding her famous tambura. She wears a deep red sari, a conspicuous bindi, nose stud, ear rings and her hair is adorned with jasmine flowers. Husain has captioned the portrait “Subbulakshmi” in Tamil and has also signed it in Tamil. The portrait was painted by Husain in a flash of inspiration, the way he remembered her, when he heard the news of her passing. At the time, the artist had a major exhibition of his work, which he dedicated to the singer, in Chennai, where the portrait was originally unveiled. At the time Husain said that when he once heard her sing, for two minutes “It was so divine. I can never forget it in my life-time”. He heard of her passing on 11th December 2004 and painted the portrait in a day in Dubai. When he travelled to Chennai a few days later, he brought the painting and displayed it himself as the focal point of his exhibition at the Lakshana Museum of Arts.

The Queen of Music


Subbulakshmi’s music in films made her nationally famous. However, her devotional songs created even greater fame in India and internationally. Her voice interpreted the compositions of the three greats of Carnatic music, Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshiter and Shyam Sastri. Mahatma Gandhi was moved to tears when she sang his favourite bhajan Vaishnava Jana To Tene Kahiye Je Peer Parayee Jaane Re. When she sang at the United Nations Assembly, the New York Times wrote that Westerners could understand her message though it was delivered in a different language. She sang before Queen Elizabeth at London’s Royal Albert Hall. In 1954 Subbulakshmi received the Padma Bhushan and in 1969 received the title of Sangeetha Kalanidhi. She was the first woman to be honoured by the Madras Music Academy. In 1974 she received the Magsaysay Award and in 1975 she received the Padma Vibhushan. In 1990 she was awarded the Indira Gandhi Award for national integration. In 1998 she became the first musician to be honoured with the Bharat Ratna.

The United Nations has issued a stamp to mark Subbulakshmi’s birth centenary, coinciding with the celebration of India’s 70th Independence Day on 15th August 2016.

Navrathan’s is honoured and privileged to display this superb portrait of one of India’s greatest singers by one of India’s greatest artists.

Contact Michael Ludgrove, Navrathan’s Art Consultant on +91 99725 97430 and Chirag Chopra on +91 99006 85028 for all enquiries

Navrathan’s Art Gallery


Navrathan’s has taken up 35,000 square feet over three floors at 39 MG Road, perhaps the largest such
Mr. Gautam Chand Bafna with painting of MS Subbulakshmi by MF Husain displayed at ‘Art Bengaluru 2016’ by Navrathan’s Art Gallery, Image Thomas Jose
Mr. Gautam Chand Bafna 

space in India. The familiar logo of Navrathan’s, a lotus with nine variously coloured petals, following the colours of the nine jewels, can now be seen above an impressive heritage facade building.

The second floor of this paradise for the discerning interior décor enthusiasts, houses Mr. Gautam’s latest venture, an art gallery. A state-of-the-art picture hanging system has been installed in a 3,000 sq. ft. picture gallery dedicated to exhibitions of paintings, photography and other interesting genres. A series of exhibitions is planned and will commence in September, and will include Masters as well as newly discovered talents; Photography and other categories such as rare books, maps, jewellery design and watches will also be featured.

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