An acclaimed Jatin Das painting that went missing from Air India’s collection recently was returned to its office on Friday in a “torn condition” according to an official as per PTI. He said,”Over a week back we received this 33×17 inch painting. It was without a frame and had been folded several times and was in a torn condition. It was sent to us from an address in Gurgaon which we later found to be fake.” An internal enquiry team was set up after the Padma Bhushan awardee had complained to Air India earlier this month that his painting commissioned by the airline was available on the open market, found out that a former executive director at the airline had been in possession of the painting and contacted her.
Das had earlier told PTI that “indifference, negligence and theft” were behind the painting going missing. After the artwork – a horizontal oil painting titled ‘Flying Apsara’ commissioned in 1991 by Air India – resurfaced, the airline is now examining how many more former or serving Air India officials could be in possession of such paintings.
Notably, the airline has been preparing an inventory of thousands of artefacts collected by it since the 1950s for an Air India Museum that was earlier expected to be inaugurated on August 15. The collection includes stone sculptures dating back to the ninth century, woodwork, decorative friezes, and a collection of exquisite clocks, but the most prized are some of the nearly 4,000 paintings that include works by stalwarts such as M F Husain, S H Raza, V S Gaitonde to name a few.