Kuldip Singh, the modernist architect residing in Delhi has preserved the largest and ancient Thanjavur painting collection, making his very own and private collection public.
Mr. Singh is well-known for his contemporary architectural work like the majestic pyramidal shaped building in Delhi, Palika Kendra and other urban projects. His artistic ideas flow and build to become an exceptional architectural model.
This is just one corporate and professional side of Singh’s personality but an exhibition of 200 preserved classic Thanjavur portraits, Amruta Kalasha at KNMA (Kiran Nadar Museum of Art) in the capital of India, flips the other side of Mr Singh’s personality that explores the traditional artist. He has been continuously discovering and conserving the lost traditional art of painting in India, since 40 years from now.
Kuldip discovered his interest in these old paintings on his first trip to the South cities like Chennai, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram for exploring the richest artifacts, sculptures and architectural models. Later, on request by a friend to purchase Thanjavur paintings evoked the unexplored artist in Mr. Singh. He went ahead to discover by talking to scholars, reading books and purchasing the artistic treasure of India.
KNMA (Kiran Nadar Museum of Art) was the one to identify the great and private collection of Mr Singh. During the photo journey exhibition of Mr Madan Mahatta featured architectural work of post-independence. Mr Singh’s work was immensely witnessed from Mr Madan’s works, which lead the show’s curator and Kiran to visit Kuldip’s office and residence. The two then discovered 350 paintings, by far the largest collection of Thanjavur portraits.
Unlike other Indian artifacts exhibition, Thanjavur paintings were never considered for exhibiting as intended for temples, prayers rooms or other religious pooches. With art collectors like Kuldip Singh, these paintings are now fitted in drawing room and exhibitions. Mr Singh has the oldest of the old portrait from the 19th century onwards. With least amount of saving, Kuldip started purchasing and preserving the Thanjavur paintings. Recently, he isn’t buying new portraits due to lack of authenticity, genuineness and fabricated price.