Among the many quite a few slim shops at Chawri Bazaar within the Thirties was a small store that would offer artists in Delhi with stationery and printing materials. The proprietor, Ram Babu Jain, was extra a good friend than a shopkeeper. When he determined to shift his retailer Dhoomimal Dharamdas to Connaught Place in 1935, his purchasers too shifted with him. An artwork connoisseur, he typically imported paints, paper and brushes to produce them at a minimal worth.
Quickly, artists started to commerce provides with their art work leading to a substantive assortment that Jain started to showcase on the ground above the shop in 1936, resulting in the institution of certainly one of India’s oldest artwork galleries. Over time, it has labored with a few of the most famed artists of the nation, together with Francis Newton Souza, Jamini Roy, Sailoz Mukherjea and Ram Kumar.
Whereas a number of renovations have taken place since, the gallery has now been fully refurbished by Ram Babu Jain’s grandson, Uday Jain. “We wished to retain the attraction of the previous but additionally make modifications which might be up to date. The open courtyard has been stored,” says Uday, who took over greater than 15 years in the past.
Making an attempt to retain a semblance of the previous, Uday has stored the outdated construction, together with the British hearth. There are additionally images of artists and luminaries, together with former PM Indira Gandhi, who visited the gallery. “We would like folks to know the historical past of the place,” says Uday.
Consistent with Ram Babu’s coverage of selling younger artists, at the moment exhibiting on the partitions are the works of younger artists who’re a part of the Ravi Jain Memorial Exhibition.
“In the course of the preliminary years, each afternoon, round 8-10 folks would come right here for lunch. My grandfather did all he may to assist artists. A R Chughtai, for example, labored on a particular paper which was not accessible in India, so my grandfather imported that. He additionally revealed monographs on artists like Chughtai, Jamini Roy and Sailoz Mukherjea. Within the Forties, the gallery supported a bunch referred to as Kalakar that introduced collectively like-minded folks thinking about artwork, poetry and music,” says Uday.
Within the late ’50s and ’60s, whereas Vijay Jain dealt with the Delhi gallery, siblings Mahender Jain and Ravi Jain established a gallery in New York and travelled throughout US, showcasing works of artists like MF Husain, KS Kulkarni, Ram Kumar, Sunil Das, Shanti Dave, Biren De and Krishen Khanna.
Within the ’60s, a number of expats in India would buy art work from Dhoomimal. “Internatio-nally, international artwork had already reached a sure degree they usually discovered the worth of Indian artwork extra affordable. Even within the early ’90s, you might get a Souza canvas for Rs 10,000,” says Uday.
Whereas its assortment of modernists stays its main asset, sharing his imaginative and prescient for the approaching years, Uday says, “We might be selling extra younger artists, have interactive classes, seminars and contribute in direction of artwork schooling.”
Over time the gallery has hosted a number of necessary exhibitions, together with Krishen Khanna’s truck sequence and Jeram Patel’s Blow torch works.