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Jehangir Art Gallery

  • Name:
    Jehangir Art Gallery
  • Kind of Organisation:
    Art GalleryAuditorium HallLibrary
  • Introduction:

    Efforts to create spaces for the democratic presentation, discussion and reflection of art in Bombay after independence led to the establishment of the Jehangir Art Gallery in 1952.

    Word Count: 27

  • Content:

    “Talking about problems, I would also like to mention that the art of Bombay is yet to have a home. With more and more people coming to art shows, it becomes impossible to accommodate all those who would like to see the exhibits in a comfortable manner. Most of the smaller places that are available today for exhibitions cannot display more than forty paintings, and the larger places like the Cowasji Jehangir Hall are not easily available. We are therefore eagerly waiting for the Art Gallery to come up. I hope within this year the artists of Bombay will see the fulfilment of their dreams.” (Chatterji 1950, 12)
    Chatterji’s retrospective of Bombay’s art development of 1949 ended with a clear wish for the new decade, “the Art Gallery”. It would take two more years.
    Finally, after many people had joined forces to lobby for the creation of “a home” for Bombay’s art and artists, the Chief Minister of Bombay State, B.G. Kher, inaugurated the Jehangir Art Gallery on 21 January 1952. The industrialist and philanthropist Sir Cowasji Jehangir, the first Indian president of the Bombay Art Society, donated the entire cost.
    As early as 1946, many artists in Bombay had expressed the need for a public art space and Sir Cowasji Jehangir (1879–1962) had offered 250 000 rupees if the Bombay government provided suitable land for the building of a gallery. However, it took four years for the Bombay municipality to accept Cowasji’s offer and designate the grounds of the spacious Prince of Wales Museum compound in the heart of Bombay.
    The modern structure of the white concrete building, one of the first in India, with its “PCC columns, beams, slabs and portal frames with steel trusses over larger spans” and entrance featuring the “first cantilevered portico in India” (Mehrota 2002, 28) contrasted with the traditional Prince of Wales Museum building, yet complemented it. The MIT-trained architect Durga Shankar Bajpai, son of the Governor of Bombay (1952–1954) and a close family friend of Cowasji Jehangir, and G.M. Bhuta designed “a wonderful fusion of classical planning and space conception with the plasticity of modernism” (Mehrotra 2002, 29).
    The gallery was named after the late son of Sir Cowasji Jehangir, who had died in London in 1944. An oil portrait of Jehangir Cowasji Jehangir (1911–1944) by Walter Langhammer was unveiled in the entrance hall during the inauguration. The donor’s younger son Sri Hirji Jehangir (1915-2000) served as chairman of the Jehangir Art Gallery Trust for almost 40 years.The modern structure is indeed a step towards modernity in architecture, but also symbolises modernity in art presentation with two large halls, namely an Exhibition Gallery for visual art and an Auditorium Hall for concerts, conferences, film screenings, and presentations, plus a library and a shop. The gallery’s accommodation of the Café Samovar as a meeting place and the office of the Bombay Art Society, its bi-weekly changing exhibitions by artists from all over India and, later, its housing of the Chemould Gallery (1963–2007) all attest to the non-elite character of the newly-founded institution, which was unique in India. The model of public-private partnership that characterised the art venue's creation was carried through to its operation.
    The two main halls comprised a “total of 3,400 square feet of floor area and approximately 550 running feet of hanging wall space” and could “together accommodate over 1700 people” (Mehrotra 2002, 29). Extensive renovations in 1990 and recent restructuring have modernised and expanded the infrastructure for art presentations.
    Located on the premises of the former Prince of Wales Museum – in the immediate vicinity of the Artist’s Centre (formerly Bombay Art Society Salon) and on Mahatma Gandhi Road, the main boulevard of Inner South Bombay, less than five minutes’ walk from the Cowasji Jehangir Hall (today National Gallery of Modern Art) in the south and three minutes from the IFL language school-cum-art centre in the north – the Jehangir Art Gallery became “the Art Gallery”; the “home” for Bombay’s art and artists in the 1950s.
    During the second half of the 20th century, the Jehangir Art Gallery became a Bombay landmark, contributing significantly to the image and perception of the city as a metropolis with lively arts initiatives.

    Word Count: 685

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    61 B, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Bombay (now Mumbai).

  • Signature Image:
    Jehangir Art Gallery, 2018 (Photo: Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).
  • Media:
    Jehangir Art Gallery, entrance hall, 2007 (Photo: Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).
    Jehangir Art Gallery, entrance hall: Bust of the donor and founder Sir Cowasji Jehangir between his two sons. On the left Jehangir Cowasji Jehangir, who gave the gallery its name; on the right Sir Hirji Jehangir, former chairman of the Jehangir Art Gallery Trust, 2018 (Photo: Margit Franz, 2018).
    Portrait of Jehangir Cowasji Jehangir by Walter Langhammer (Photo: Margit Franz, 2007).
    Commemorative plaque (Photo: Margit Franz, 2018).
    Art education for the masses: Walter Langhammer presents a USIS (United States Information Service) film at Jehangir Art Gallery, Auditorium Hall, 1952 (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz, authorized by the late Kekoo Gandhy; © Gandhy Archive, Mumbai; All Rights Reserved).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Chatterji, R. “A Bumper Harvest of Beauty: Art & Artists: 1949 Retrospect.” The Times of India, 1 January 1950, p. 12.

    Franz, Margit. “From Dinner Parties to Galleries: The Langhammer-Leyden-Schlesinger Circle in Bombay – 1940s through the 1950s.” Arrival Cities. Migrating Artists and New Metropolitan Topographies in the 20th Century, edited by Burcu Dogramaci et al., Leuven University Press, 2020, pp. 73–90. Project Muse, doi: 10.1353/book.77990. Accessed 30 March 2021.

    Mehrotra, Rahul, and Sharada Dwivedi. The Jehangir Art Gallery. Established 21st January, 1952. Jehangir Art Gallery, 2002.

    Word Count: 76

  • Archives and Sources:

    Private Archive Margit Franz, Sinabelkirchen.
    Private Archive of late Khorshed & Kekoo Gandhy, Mumbai.

    Word Count: 14

  • Author:
    Margit Franz
  • Date of Founding:
    21-01-1952
  • Participants (selection):

    Dr. Homi Bhabha, K.H. Hebbar, Kekoo Gandhy, Sir Cowasji Jehangir, Sir Hirji Jehangir, Walter Langhammer, Rudolf von Leyden, Albrecht von Leyden

  • Metropolis:
    Bombay
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Margit Franz. "Jehangir Art Gallery." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2951/object/5145-11941876, last modified: 14-09-2021.
  • Kekoo Minochair Gandhy
    Frame Shop OwnerGalleristArt Collector

    Starting from a cosmopolitan milieu for young local artists, Kekoo and his wife Khorshed Gandhy developed a business model that turned the frame shop into Gallery Chemould.

    Word Count: 27

    Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy in front of their life’s work. Drawing by Kripa in The Art Gallery on Princess Street by Jerry Pinto (Reprinted from: Pinto 2019, 28).
    Kekoo Gandhy in conversation with the painter K.K. Hebbar in front of Souza’s Death of the Pope, Taj Mahal Gallery, 1961 (Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz © Gandhy Archive, Mumbai; All Rights Reserved).Kekoo Gandhy with the author (far left) visiting a local artist and his family in his Mumbai home, 2007 (© Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).Khorshed and Kekoo Gandhy in front of the oil portrait of their children Adil and Rashna by Walter Langhammer in their family house, Kekee Manzil, May 2007 (Photo: Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).
    Bombay
    Rudolf von Leyden
    GeologistAdvertisement SpecialistJournalistArt CriticArt CollectorCartoonist

    The advertisement expert, Rudolf von Leyden, became a major art critic and art historian in Bombay in the 1940s, advocating an urgent need for modernism in art in post-colonial India.

    Word Count: 30

    Rudolf and Nena von Leyden’s farewell party for Francis Newton. Showing all members of the Progressive Artists’ Group. Front from left: PAG = M.F. Husain, S.K. Bakre, H.A. Gade, K.H. Ara, F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza with writer Mulk Raj Anand (1st right front). Back: Käthe Langhammer (with lace collar dress), Rudolf von Leyden with his wife Nena (centre), Walter Langhammer (2nd right), Ebrahim Alkazi (theatre pioneer, 1st right back), Bombay 1949. (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).
    Letterhead of The Hand. Commercial Art Studio Rudolf von Leyden, 1934 (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).Advertisement for Agfa by Rudolf von Leyden (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).Bombay Art Society Committees 1952/53, reprinted in Bombay Art Society 62th Annual Exhibition 1952–53 (at Jehangir Art Gallery), Bombay 1952, n.p. (Photo: Margit Franz 2021).Two modernists meet: Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (left) and Rudolf von Leyden (right), 1950s. (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).The article by Rudolf and Nena von Leyden “Ganjifa, the Playing Cards of India” (Marg, vol. 3, no. 4, 1949, p. 36; reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).Indian President Zakir Husain (left), President of India, opened the first Triennial for contemporary art on 10 February 1968 in the Lalit Kala Gallery in New Delhi. In the picture on the left with jury member Rudolf von Leyden (right). (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).
    Bombay
    Picture of Rudi von Leyden’ s Bust by Sadanand K. Bakre
    Photograph

    The picture of the previously lost and recently located sculpture by Sadanand K. Bakre reflects the relationship between the artist Bakre and the art critic Rudi von Leyden.

    Word Count: 28

    Bakre’s clay bust featured on Leyden’s greetings card, 1949 (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes. All Rights Reserved).
    Press clipping with historic photo of young Bakre working on the clay bust while Leyden sits as a model, late 1940s (Maddox, Georgina. “In Retrospect.” Indian Express, 8 November 2002, p. 8. © Indian Express. Reprinted in Singh 2013, 276; Image courtesy: Delhi Art Gallery).Press clipping from a Marathi Newspaper showing Bakre’s bust of Leyden, 1997 (Reprinted in Singh 2013, 276; Image courtesy: Delhi Art Gallery).S.K. Bakre, Head, 1950, Bronze. Exhibited at the National Gallery of Modern Art, 2018 (© Creative Commons, Photo: Ashok Bhatia 2018).
    Bombay
    The Leydens: Sculpture, Paintings, Cartoons
    Exhibition

    In 1948 Albrecht and Rudi von Leyden sold their personal works of art in order to set up an “Artists' Aid Fund”, which became an institution in the following years.

    Word Count: 29

    Folder for the Leyden exhibition in May 1948, front and back (© Private Archive Flora Veit-Wild, Berlin; All Rights Reserved).
    Folder (inside) for the Leyden exhibition in May 1948 with the titles of the exhibits (© Private Archive Flora Veit-Wild, Berlin; All Rights Reserved).The four exhibiting artists: Luise and Victor Ernst von Leyden (front), Rudolf and Albrecht von Leyden (with glasses) (back) (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).The opening was well attended: in front the Elephant, woodcarving by Victor Ernst von Leyden (far left), who is sitting under his sculpture in conversation with a gentleman, his wife Luise (with a headscarf, from behind) sitting in the same row. Käthe Langhammer moves to the far right in the photo; the group at the back in front of the oil paintings by Albrecht von Leyden (from left): Kekoo Gandhy, Walter Langhammer (from behind), Khorshed Gandhy in conversation with two unknown women (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).Rudolf von Leyden´s Denley caricatures on display and for sale (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).The financial person behind the project: Albrecht “Lolly” von Leyden, an enthusiastic amateur painter, self-portrait from later years, n.d. (painting currently lost; Photo: Margit Franz, 2004; All Rights Reserved).Main entrance to Ador House, the exhibition venue in the salon of the Bombay Art Society, 2018 (Photo: Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).Ador House, exhibition venue in the Bombay Art Society Salon, 2018 (Photo: Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).
    Bombay
    One Man exhibition and subsequent trial, Akbar Padamsee
    Court Case

    Akbar Padamsee’s solo exhibition in Bombay in 1954 was overshadowed by his arrest on charge of displaying obscene pictures. The subsequent court case drew support from across the art world.

    Word Count: 30

    Invitation Akbar Padamsee Solo Show 29.04–4.05.1954, Jehangir Art Gallery (Courtesy of Bhanumati Padamsee, Akbar Padamsee Archive, Vinayak Aangan, Mumbai).
    Solo show at Jehangir Art Gallery from 29 to 4 May 1954. (Courtesy of Bhanumati Padamsee, Akbar Padamsee Archive, Vinayak Aangan, Mumbai).Akbar Padamsee, Lovers, 1952, 157.5 x 81.3 cm, oil on board (Courtesy of Bhanumati Padamsee, Akbar Padamsee Archive, Vinayak Aangan, Mumbai).Akbar Padamsee, Lovers I, 1952, 136 x 110 cm, oil on board (Courtesy of Bhanumati Padamsee, Akbar Padamsee Archive, Vinayak Aangan, Mumbai).Akbar Padamsee, Lovers II, 1953, 121.92 x 60.96 cm, oil on canvas. (Courtesy of Bhanumati Padamsee, Akbar Padamsee Archive, Vinayak Aangan, Mumbai).Newspaper report, “Artist arrested for displaying obscene pictures”, The Times of India, 2 May, 1954 (Courtesy of Bhanumati Padamsee, Akbar Padamsee Archive, Vinayak Aangan, Mumbai).Newspaper report, “Alleged Obscene Paintings Given Back to Artist”, The Indian Express, 4 May, 1954 (Courtesy of Bhanumati Padamsee, Akbar Padamsee Archive, Vinayak Aangan, Mumbai).
    Bombay
    Chemould
    GalleryFrame Shop

    Chemould’s history stretches from its beginnings as a manufacturer of chemical mouldings and frames in 1941 over to a hub for art circulation displaying a variety of artists in Bombay.

    Word Count: 30

    Chemould Frames shop advertising with a painting by Jamini Roy, 1946, detail (Marg, vol. 1, no. 2, January 1947, p. 104; reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).
    Chemould Frames shop advertising with a painting by Jamini Roy, 1946. (Marg, vol. 1, no. 2, January 1947, p. 104; reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).Murals of Italian POW in the St. Francis Church in Dehradun, 2005 (Photo: Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).Photo of the portrait of the Italian POW painters engaged in Murart, Kekee Manzil, 2003 (Photo: Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).Letter from Khorshed Gandhy to Carol Ross, 20 February 2009 (© Private Archive Joe Schimmel, Cape Town; All Rights Reserved).Chemould’s successful couple: level-headed Khorshed (woman standing), networking, enthusiastic Kekoo Gandhy (man sitting, chatting), at Leydens’ exhibition, 1948 (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).A Chemould level on the back of a Chemould art frame (© Private Archive Joe Schimmel, Cape Town; All Rights Reserved).Opening of Chemould Gallery. Khorshed Gandhy (3. right, first row sitting), September 1963 (Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz © Gandhy Archive, Mumbai; All Rights Reserved).
    Bombay
    Bombay Art Society
    Association

    One of the oldest art societies in India founded by colonial rulers, Bombay Art Society showcased art students and professional artists from all over India, including the Progressive Artists of Bombay.

    Word Count: 31

    Title page of the catalogue for the Golden Jubilee Exhibition, exh. cat. Bombay Art Society, Bombay, 1939 (© Bombay Art Society, Photo: Partha Mitter 2021).
    Francis Newton [Souza], Prosperity, Cat. no. 17, n.d. and S.H. Raza, Bori Bunder, Cat. no. 65, n.d. Detail of an inside page, exh. cat. The Bombay Art Society, 1947, 21 (© Bombay Art Society, Photo: Partha Mitter 2021).Walter Langhammer, Portrait of Mrs. Shirin Vimadalal, 1939, Detail of an inside page, exh. cat. The Bombay Art Society, 1939, Frontispiece (© Bombay Art Society, Photo: Partha Mitter 2021).Title page of the catalogue for the 57th Annual Exhibition, exh. cat. The Bombay Art Society, December 1947 (© Bombay Art Society, Photo: Partha Mitter 2021).A.J. Patel, Sabita, cat. no.727, n.d. and J.N. Unwalla, Screened, cat. no. 721, n.d. Detail of an inside page, exh. cat. The Bombay Art Society, 1939, 46 (© Bombay Art Society, Photo: Partha Mitter 2021).
    Bombay
    Open Studio Evenings by Käthe and Walter Langhammer
    Salon

    The painter Walter Langhammer and his wife Käthe built an informal infrastructure to promote local avant-garde artists and regularly invited them to Open Studio Evenings at their studio.

    Word Count: 29

    Open evening at the Langhammer’s, from left: Walter Langhammer, unknown woman, Kekoo Gandhy, Wayne Hartwell (American cultural affairs diplomat) n.d. (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).
    Dinner party at the Langhammer’s studio amidst his paintings (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Käthe and Walter Langhammer (far left) attending an Indian dinner, late 1930s/early 1940s (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Opening of the annual Langhammer exhibition by Sir Cowasjee Jehangir in the Convocation Hall, 27 November 1949 (from left: Mr. C.V. Oak, Rani Maharaj Singh, Walter Langhammer, Sir Cowasjee Jehangir, Käthe Langhammer) (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Photography Morning in the Great Mosque in Ajmer (translation by the author) by Käthe Langhammer, Rajasthan, 1940s (© Archive Margit Franz: Langhammer Photo Archive; All Rights Reserved).Käthe Langhammer in South India. They toured all of India for The Times of India Annual. Photo by Walter Langhammer (© Archive Margit Franz: Langhammer Photo Archive; All Rights Reserved).Invitation card for the Langhammers’ farewell party, April 1957 (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Entrance to Langhammer’s residence at 20 Nepean Sea Road (Photo: Margit Franz, 2007; All Rights Reserved).
    Bombay