The Art & Photography Foundation holds and manages a collection of art, photography, textiles and design, predominantly from the subcontinent. The Foundation's core collection has been gifted by Abhishek and Radhika Poddar, who have further made accessible their entire collection for exhibition and scholarship through the Museum of Art & Photography project.
Dating from the 12th century to the present, this extensive collection, has been divided into six key departments for the purposes of practical archiving concerns: Modern & Contemporary, Photography, Folk & Tribal, Popular Art and Textiles, Craft and Design and Pre-Modern Art.
The highlights of the Pre-Modern section of the collection include a broad range of miniature paintings - with Mughal, Jain, Rajput and Pahari schools being represented, Chola bronzes, temple art from Southern India, as well as Mysore and Tanjore paintings. It is also home to later dated works that are linked to older traditions such as pichwais and paithan paintings.
Modern & Contemporary
The Modern & Contemporary holdings include a wide cross-section of art in India, in recent history. Tracing several styles and art movements, it is home to works by artists such as Jamini Roy, Bhupen Khakhar, Jyoti Bhatt, Mrinalini Mukherjee, Ravinder Reddy, Binod Behari Mukherjee, M.F. Husain, J Swaminathan, V.S. Gaitonde, K.G. Subramanian, Atul Dodiya, Jitish Kallat, Mithu Sen, Riyas Komu and others.
The art of Popular Culture covers the development of the printing and advertising industry in India from the nineteenth century to the coming of the digital age in the late twentieth century – including woodcut block prints and Ravi Varma’s oleographs, Nathadwara collages, Kalighat paintings, educational charts, textile labels, calendar art, commercial art, and a range of Bollywood paraphernalia from lobby cards to posters.
Folk & Tribal Art
The Folk & Tribal section of the collection displays a wide range of India’s regional communal artistic practices – including both canonised forms and relatively underappreciated traditions such as patua scrolls from Bengal, shadow puppets from southern India, Bhuta idols from Karnataka and religious terracottas from Tamil Nadu. It is also home to contemporary artworks that revitalise, utilise or rework these local aesthetic traditions.
Textiles, Craft & Design
The Textile, Craft & Design collection includes important examples of textile traditions such as patolas, chintz hangings, kalamkaris, pahari rumaals, phulkaris, and kanthas, alongside many other techniques and styles. It is also home to a variety of decorative arts in furniture, design and jewellery that demonstrate the exquisite skill and technical expertise of the artisans involved in these disciplines.
Photography makes up one of the largest sections of the collection. It includes works from the nineteenth century, represented by photographers such as Samuel Bourne, John Burke, John Edward Saché, E. Taurines and Raja Deen Dayal; key artists from the twentieth century such as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Marc Riboud, Raghu Rai, Dayanita Singh and TS Satyan; as well as contemporary photographers working in India.