Brinda Miller, 52
I had known Kekoo Gandhy since my childhood. My father, [jurist and former Mumbai mayor and sheriff] Nana Chudasama, used to buy paintings from his gallery. And later, my husband, [architect] Alfaz, would buy paintings for his clients from him.
When I was a child, there were just three galleries in the city – Jehangir Art Gallery, Pundole and Chemould, the last, founded by Gandhy.
He was one of the pioneers of promoting contemporary art at his gallery in the city, and was great at discovering new talent.
You could say artist Atul Dodiya was his find. SH Raza too had many shows at Gandhy’s gallery in his early days.
Gandhy had an insatiable hunger for art. From MF Husain, SH Raza to Atul Dodiya, Gandhy is known to have guided and promoted many artists.
Except for the last year, when he had become very weak and frail, he judged art works for the JJ School of Art’s in-house award for five years, with me. The awards are given to the most promising art student of the college.
Because of old age, he couldn’t hear well, but he never let that affect his work. He always had someone with him, to tell him him loudly and clearly what people around him were saying. He did this to make sure that the job at hand was well done.
Gandhy made it a point to attend every single art exhibition and event he was invited to. Unlike many other gallerists today, who prefer not to visit other galleries, Gandhy would go to other galleries to see new works and interact with artists. He loved to do that.
Until last year, even weak and walking with difficulty, one would often see him at the Jehangir Art Gallery, pondering with equal interest the works of new and established artists.
I remember him coming to see one of my exhibitions a long time ago, and spending a lot of time in the gallery looking at each work carefully. As an art connoisseur, he loved colourful works and told me that he liked my paintings. I was delighted. It was a big deal to be praised by Gandhy, one of the greatest art collectors and gallerists of his time.
As told to Riddhi Doshi
Leaving behind a legacy of recognising talent
mumbai: Kekoo Gandhy, who was known for one of the most established art galleries in the country —Gallery Chemould —left behind a legacy for recognising talent, said members of the art world as they mourned his demise on Saturday.
“Gallery Chemould was an incubator for talent,” said artist Devika Bhojwani. “Gandhy recognised talent much before anyone else did, and he went on to launch some of the best artists in the country,” she said.
Although Gallery Chemould was established in 1963, Gandhy and his wife Khorshed’s association with art began earlier. Gandhy first established a frame-manufacturing business, Chemould Frames, in 1941, and his passion for art prompted him to showcase art works at his showroom window, including artist MF Husain's in 1951. Gandhy then became the honourary secretary of the Bombay Art Society in 1947. Gallery Chemould was set up in 1963 when he was offered space in Jehangir Art Gallery.
Over the decades, Gandhy promoted artists such as Tyeb Mehta, Atul Dodiya and Nalini Malani. “Gandhy lived in an interesting time for Indian art, and played a major role in bringing international recognition for artists here,” said Phiroza Godrej, from Cymroza Art Gallery. “He was also recognised by the Indian government for his contributions to the art world, and was given the Padma Shri award a few years ago,” she said.