Collector’s Items: Inside The Piramal Group’s New Museum Of Art

Piramal Museum of Art

An intricately detailed sixteenth-century Mughal miniature depicting a battle scene. A whimsical 1972 K. Ramanujam painting of a building with a human head and fire-breathing dragons. Sadanand Bakre’s ‘The Lake’ from 1970, in which a cluster of geometrically precise steepled European homes fringe a blue expanse like in illustrations of the sort you’ve seen in fairy tale books. F. N. Souza’s 1961 ‘Italian Townscape’ in which crooked houses silhouetted against a red background give the impression of a blood-drenched nightmare. These are some of the striking works the public will be able to view at the Piramal Museum of Art, which opens today, Thursday, November 26. The 7,000 square feet venue in Lower Parel is run by the Parimal Art Foundation and houses the significant private art collection of the family that runs the Piramal Group.

The museum’s opening show is a set of around 40 paintings and sculptures that serve as a potted history of Indian art. Arvind Rajagopalan, the director of the museum, said the works in the exhibition span 300 years. They include Mughal miniatures and paintings by British artist Thomas Daniell, who with his nephew William Daniell, created Indian landscapes in the eighteenth century; Bengal school exponents such as Nandalal Bose and Abanindranath Tagore; Raja Ravi Varma; the gamut of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, from M. F. Husain and S. H. Raza to K. H. Ara and F. N. Souza; and contemporary practitioners such as Thukral and Tagra.

The Piramal Museum of Art is one of only two private art museums in the city. The first was the Jehangir Nicholson Art Foundation gallery, which opened inside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in 2011. Delhi also has two such museums, the Devi Foundation and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, both of which are much larger in comparison to their Mumbai counterparts. Nevertheless, the Piramals’ collection is large enough for the museum to host a different exhibition every three months. The aim, however, is for the venue to also be used by other companies and individuals to showcase their own private collections.

The Piramal Museum of Art, Piramal Tower, B Wing, Ground Floor, Peninsula Corporate Park, off Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel. Open Monday to Friday, from 3pm to 9pm, and Saturday and Sunday, from 10am to 8pm. There is no entry fee. Get directions here.

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