Passionate collectors are motivated by the joy of
being surrounded by wonderful objects, from commonplace to priceless, and
cultivate their collections as works of original art. Collectors are often
spurred by curiosity and the desire to learn more about a particular subject.
They find substantial satisfaction in cultivating their collections over time
and preserving cultural heritage.
After the success of Art Beyond Canvas and Children’s Art Workshop, the final event in the Multidimensional Art trilogy in the perfect setting of Maharaja’s Treasure: Select works of art from the famed Air India collection–an exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, brings together a diverse group of collectors and curators, both private and institutional who will share their experiences and insights, discussing the challenges and rewards of building and managing collections and preserving cultural heritage.
Join us for an unforgettable evening and discover the secrets of building world-class collections with the Air India Maharaja as the Muse.
Paul Abraham is an art patron and collector of historical artefacts, modern and contemporary art and living traditions from the Indian subcontinent. He founded Sarmaya in 2015 to foster a love for art and history among the young and the curious. Sarmaya is a modern, digital museum that uses a combination of online engagement and on-ground programming, including workshops, lectures and travels, to reach everyone from children to young adults, and from enthusiasts to connoisseurs. Paul works closely with Indian artists to encourage innovation in indigenous art-forms like Mata-Ni-Pachedi, Tholu Bommalata, Mithila and Bengal Patua. Paul has a Post Graduate Degree in Business Management from IIM Ahmedabad and a Bachelor’s degree in Economics (Hons) from St Stephen’s College Delhi. A banker with over 35 years of experience, Paul is an advisor at IndusInd Bank. In addition, he is President, Hinduja Foundation and on the board of Dakshinachitra Museum and Sanctuary Asia.Read more
Rajan Jayakar is an Advocate and Solicitor, practicing in the Bombay High Court since 1971. Currently, he is the Trustee of Bhau Daji Lad Museum Trust, Byculla, Mumbai, and Hon. Jt. Finance Secretary of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, holding several other prestigious positions. He is one of the foremost collectors of memorabilia in India today with a diversely vast collection of antiquarian books, coat of arms, typewriters, and textile labels and catalogues to name a few. Presently, he is writing a coffee table book “Legal Bombay” on the history of Judicial Institutions on the Island of Bombay (1296-1947). His vast Shammi Kapoor collection includes posters, songbooks, and photographs among other rare items. He has represented India in World Stamp Exhibitions securing a gold medal in Court Fee Stamps of British India. Rajan has written for numerous magazines, journals, and newspapers and his widely appreciated lectures on legal topics, the History of Bombay (through engravings, picture postcards, lithographs, and photography), Pathare Prabhu Community, Philately, Hobbies, and Collections are available on YouTube. He is also the Limca Book of Records holder (1996) for the highest collection of matchbox labels in India.Read more
Pavitra Rajaram is the Founder and Creative Director of the award-winning interior design firm, Pavitra Rajaram Design. It is a multidisciplinary design practice that straddles the worlds of product design, architecture & interior design, brand strategy, and customer experience. A long-time believer in the power of design-led thinking in brand strategy; Pavitra is also the Design Director of India’s leading paints and wallcoverings company Asian Paints. Pavitra was formerly the Lead Designer and Creative Strategy Head for Good Earth, India's iconic luxury lifestyle brand. Pavitra is the recipient of the INTACH Urban Heritage Award, and the EDIDA Award for Product Design, and is a six-time winner of the prestigious AD100, awarded annually to the 100 most influential designers in the Indian subcontinent. She has a degree in Political Science & Art History and received magna cum laude with high honors from Smith College, USA.Read more
Joe Cyril is the director of Gallery XXL, a post-graffiti and urban contemporary art gallery. He is also the CEO of XXL Collective a sister company of St+art India Foundation. The company creates bespoke spatial, artistic interventions in collaboration with a global community of urban artists. He was a founding team member of Kochi-Muziris Biennale’s editions in 2012 and 2014, and went on to lead business development at India’s leading auction house, Saffronart. He is also a trustee of Palette People, an art residency and gallery based out of Kerala. Through his career he has worked on various art collections in the private, corporate, and government realms. Joe is originally from Kochi, Kerala and completed his degree in Economics from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and currently lives and works in Mumbai.Read more
History of the Art of Collecting
The art of collecting is presumed to be as old as the civilizations. Objects were accumulated in temples, tombs, and sanctuaries to suggest the power of a ruler/religion in ancient societies of Egypt, Babylonia, China, and India, which gives us hints of the origin of collecting. Further from the times of the Renaissance to the 17th century several families like the Medicis of Florence, the Gonzagas of Mantua, the Montefeltros of Urbino, and the Estes in Ferrara patronized several European Master artists setting a new trend of acquiring art. Some authors have tried to define the art of collecting over the years. Susan Pearce states that the act of collecting comprises: 1) a non-utilitarian gathering of objects, 2) an intrinsic relationship between the things gathered, and 3) a subjective view of the owner.
Museums and the Art of Collecting
In 18th-century Europe, the royal collectors opened their doors for public viewing of their immense collections. In the same period, the monarchs and nobles also started donating their collections. Eventually, this led to the making of great art museums during the 19th century further flourishing in the 20th and 21st centuries. A similar trend was seen in the United States as we see the creation of prominent museums during the 1870s, like the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington in 1869, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1872 which is said to be founded with three private European art collections, and the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore the following year. Museums became important centers for public engagement and learning. This shows how the rotation of artworks from private collections into museum galleries has been a dominant feature of art collecting since its commencement.
Process of collection of Art
Understanding the various aspects of the process of collecting art is very crucial before venturing into it. Collecting begins with identifying and understanding your passion and liking for a specific style of art. An individual needs to develop the aesthetic slowly and learn how to interpret art. This can be initiated by visiting various galleries and museums that display and sell art. In the beginning, collectors can acquire artworks of emerging artists too. Collectors need to study about the authenticity of the artwork and be careful regarding the provenance of an acquired artwork in the past. Safeguarding is an essential aspect of the later stages of maintaining a collection. One must have at least a basic plan of action regarding the display, protection, and insurance of the collected artwork.
Prominent Collectors from India and the World
Two Lebanese-Monegasque brothers, Ezra, and David Nahmad are the world’s top art collectors also retaining the most extensive private Picasso collection. Next on the list is the Brooklyn-born founder of Asylum Records, Geffen Records, and DGC Records labels and film studio Dream Works David Geffen. Some of India’s leading collectors include Harsh Goenka, Kiran Nadar, Om Prakash Jain, Parmeshwar Godrej, Malvinder Singh, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, and Sangita Jindal.