Air India’s ‘Maharaja collection’ with 4000 artworks set to be moved from Mumbai

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New Delhi | Published: July 4, 2018 12:04:52 PM

Besides 4,000 paintings, the collection also includes stone sculptures dating back to the 9th century, wooden frames, decorative items, and a collection of clocks taking the number of total items to 7,000.

air india, air india maharaja collection, maharaja collection of air india, air india collection to be moved, india newsAn M F Husain creation that is part of the collection. (Source: IE)

After a proposal to sell the Air India building at Nariman Point in South Mumbai to Shipping Ministry got Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approval, the next task at hand is to shift the priceless art collection from the building. Known as the ‘Maharaja Collection’, it has more than 4,000 artworks including paintings by legendary artists such as M F Husain, V S Gaitonde, Jatin Das, and Anjolie Ela Menon.

According to a report by The Indian Express, this collection is likely to be moved to Delhi and could soon be a part of the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA). The report quoted sources in Ministry of Culture as saying that some works from the collection will even be displayed at the organisation’s Jaipur House building as well.

The deal has not been finalised yet but Adwaita Gadanayak, director-general, NGMA, said that the initial talks have begun. “We are in talks but things are yet to take a final shape,” Gadanayak who is in Mumbai to hold further discussions with Air India officials on the matter, said.

The sources added that the ministry had finalised NGMA’s name to transfer the collection by way of donation by Air India because it is the only institution in the country that has the mandate to collect and display modern art. As per the report, these artworks will start arriving in Delhi in Air India planes from next week.

The government had started to take inventory of the 2014 collection, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha had revealed last year. The Civil Aviation Ministry, meanwhile, had said that the fate of the collection will be decided by the group of ministers looking into the proposal for Air India’s disinvestment.

Besides 4,000 paintings, the collection also includes stone sculptures dating back to the 9th century, wooden frames, decorative items, and a collection of clocks taking the number of total items to 7,000. The collection was built over more than six decades after Independence and there is no official estimate of its worth.

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