Air India’s missing Jatin Das painting returned in ‘torn condition’
A prestigious Jatin Das painting that was found missing from Air India’s collection recently has been returned to its office here in a “torn condition”, an official at the airline has said.
“Over a week back we received this 33x17 inch painting. It was without a frame and had been folded several times and was in a torn condition. It was sent to us from an address in Gurgaon which we later found to be fake,” said the Air India official who did not want to be identified.
An internal inquiry team, set up after Das complained to Air India earlier this month that his painting commissioned by the airline was available on open market, found out that a former executive director at the airline had been in possession of the painting and contacted her.
After the artwork - a horizontal oil painting titled ‘Flying Apsara’ commissioned in 1991 by Air India - resurfaced, the airline is now examining how many more former or serving Air India officials could be in possession of such paintings.
Padma Bhushan awardee Das had earlier told PTI that “indifference, negligence and theft” were behind the painting going missing.
The airline has been preparing an inventory of thousands of artefacts collected by it since the 1950s for an Air India Museum that was earlier expected to be inaugurated on August 15.
The collection includes stone sculptures dating back to the ninth century, woodwork, decorative friezes, and a collection of exquisite clocks, but the most prized are some of the nearly 4,000 paintings that include works by stalwarts such as M F Husain, S H Raza, V S Gaitonde, K A Ara, Anjolie Ela Menon, Arpana Caur and B Prabha.