New Delhi, India
Date:
17/01/2001

PHOTOS
 
Front: Guru B.K., ‘Family Burden’, 1983, bronze, National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi

Jawed A. M. Shahid, ‘Manushi Xth’, no year given, marble, National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi


 
Outside the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. No plaque offers information on the work.

Indian artist Jamini Roy (1887-1972), ‘Queen on Tiger’, tempera on canvas, no year given, National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi. (See Paige’s Notes below.)


 
Indian artist Amrita Sher-Gil (1913-41), ‘Self-portrait (9)’, oil on canvas, no year given, National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi

Indian artist Bhupen Khakkar, ‘Man with a bouquet of Plastic Flower (sic)’, oil on canvas, 1975, National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi


 
Indian artist Jyotti Bhatt, ‘Remenecent (sic) Images’, oil on canvas, no year given, National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi

‘King on Elephant’, National Museum. More than five centuries after this piece was carved, elephants still carry men, not kings, through India. On 15 January 2001 I walked out of the Nepalese Embassy to find two men atop a massive, towering elephant moving not so gracefully down a major road in Delhi, city of more than 10 million.


 
All of the female deities carved many centuries ago show voluptuous curves. National Museum, Delhi

‘Vishnu’, 7th century from South India – inside the National Museum, Delhi


 
Scores of stone sculptures mostly associated with Buddhism and Hinduism are on display at the National Museum. A deity in the 11th century woodcarving called ‘Trinity’ from South India.


 
 
PAIGE'S NOTES
 
17 January 2001 – The National Gallery of Modern Art museum sells scores of postcards, but shockingly not of ‘Queen on Tiger’ – one of the most renowned in the collection. I asked the two salesmen why? They sent me to the curator (Dr. Sudhakar Sharma), who was enjoying a cup of tea. He explained this was an oversight and in a year or two when there is another printing, ‘Queen on Tiger’ will be made into a postcard. Dr. Sharma said he didn't think they'd ever sold a postcard of the superb painting. I said, ‘Isn't it one of your most important works?’ ‘Yes, but when the committee [government appointed I learned] voted on postcards, someone from here did not tell them how to vote correctly.’

Even more shocking: this museum, one of the largest in India, has been without a director for several months with no replacement expected any time soon. A Times of India editorial a few days ago suggested that bureaucrats should cease to run museums and professional should be hired. I concur wholeheartedly since a little work and care could make this museum a remarkable home for art. Certainly Dr. Sharma, the curator and supposed ‘keeper’ of the works, doesn't appear to be the right choice.

 
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