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    Kekoo Gandhy (b. 1920, d. 2012)

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    A patron and gallerist of modern Indian art, Kekoo Gandhy is known for establishing one of the oldest commercial galleries in India, Chemould Prescott Road, which played a major role in the development of Modern Indian art, in Bombay (now Mumbai). Gandhy also played a central role in encouraging artists associated with the Progressive Artists’ Group in the 1950s and served as an administrator of several arts societies. 

    Born in Bombay, Gandhy received his schooling at the Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai, and the University of Cambridge, UK, where his education was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1940, Gandhy was appointed honorary secretary of the Bombay Art Society. In the following years, he connected with other European emigres in Bombay such as Emmanuel Schlesinger, Rudolf von Leyden and Walter Langhammer and was introduced to the painters who formed the Progressive Artists’ Group in 1947. During this time, he became acquainted with Roger Van Damme, a Belgian manufacturer of picture frames. In 1941, Gandhy and his cousin Dara entered into a partnership with Van Damme at the Chemical Moulding Manufacturing Company, which was later shortened to Chemould. 

    Chemould Frames, which was operated by Gandhy on Princess Street, Bombay, was one of the few establishments offering picture frames in India at the time and consequently became a meeting space for artists.  In 1963, Gandhy formally established Gallery Chemould in a small space on the first floor of the Jehangir Art Gallery

    Gandhy was an active cultural lobbyist and played a vital role in the foundation of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, and extended his support and patronage to the Lalit Kala Akademi and its triennale. He supported dissident activists and cultural freedom during the Emergency in 1975–77 and helped establish the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (1989) and the Free Chandramohan Committee (2007). In 2008, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India. A documentary of his life, Kekee Manzil, was produced in 2020 by his daughter Behroze Gandhy.

    Gandhy died in 2012 in Mumbai.


    Bhatia, Sidharth. “The Accidental Gallerist and the Making of Indian Modern Art.” The Wire, July 8, 2020.

    Hoskote, Ranjit. “Requiem for a Pioneer.” Art in America, December 20, 2012.

    Marfatia, Meher. “Kekoo Gandhy: Guru, Mentor, Patron, Critic, and More.” Times of India, November 11, 2021.

    Ramnath, Nandini. “Documentary on Gallerists Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy is a Portrait of the Home They Created for Art.”, March 8, 2020.

    Savansukha, Pooja. “‘Kekee Manzil – The House of Art’ Chronicles a Micro-History of Mumbai Anchored in a Century-Old Family Home.” The Hindu, June 25, 2020.

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