Gallery Chemould, founded in 1963 by late Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy, was one of the oldest established commercial art galleries. It has the distinction of having represented major artists, such as M.F. Husain, Tyeb Mehta, S.H. Raza, emerging from the first waves of India's modernist and contemporary art movements. Chemould was also the first gallery to host the first solo exhibition of the internationally acclaimed artist, the late Bhupen Khakhar (1934 - 2004).
The Gandhys began their long association with contemporary art during the late 1940s, in the early years of the modernist art movement in post-Independence India. Their role and involvement as facilitators and promoters in this cultural climate has come to be seen as integral to the existing scene around the visual arts in the country.
The Chemould story started in 1941 with the establishment of Chemould Frames, Kekoo Gandhy's frame manufacturing business, through which he came to know the then young K. H. Ara, S. H. Raza, K. K. Hebbar and M. F. Husain. At a time when there were practically no venues for showing modern art in the city, Gandhy began to use his show room window to exhibit their works in specially designed frames while also promoting them to prospective clients. The show room thus became a site for small, informal solo shows such as that of M. F. Husain's in 1951. Today Chemould Frames continues to operate as an independent company from the gallery, situated in the same premise as over 60 years ago.
Shireen Gandhy joined her parents in 1988 and added a new dynamism to its programme by spearheading a particular focus on young emerging artists with an experimental and interdisciplinary approach to practice and media. The artists represented within the stable of the gallery represent the very contemporary nature of the nation as it stands today, addressing issues of the national and the global as seen in the works of Atul Dodiya, Jitish Kallat, Shilpa Gupta (to name a few); as also being interested in artists who work with references to tradition and materiality as in the case of Nilima Sheikh and Desmond Lazaro and Lavanya Mani. The gallery’s special interest in artists who work in installations and new media is represented through the works of L.N. Tallur and Vivan Sundaram and Pushpamala N. (to name a few.)
In 2003, the Gallery Chemould commemorated its fortieth anniversary with an exhibition spanning four generations of Indian artists, curated by Geeta Kapur and Chaitanya Sambrani, titled, Crossing Generations: diVERGE, Forty years of Gallery Chemould held at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Bombay.
On 2 February 2007 Chemould Prescott Road opened an expansive space in the centre of the city and branch concern of Gallery Chemould. (The latter subsequently closed down in the Jehangir Art Gallery in the same year.)
In 2013, Chemould Prescott Road celebrated its 50th year, for which Geeta Kapur curated a series of 5 simultaneous exhibitions under the over-arching title: Aesthetic Bind. The 5 exhibitions attempted to look at the gallery's role as a space that creates conversations through prevalent contemporary practices in contemporary Indian art. (please view the timeline under the "about" section in our website for more information.)
In its 52nd year and counting, the gallery remains to be relevant with a robust contemporary programme - and a roster of artists who's work is in the forefront of both the national and international art scene.