A unique memorial for Roerichs

Wednesday, 14 March 2012 04:13

One of the world’s most famous art collection, the magnificent canvases of the Roerichs, both Sir Nicholas and his son Svetoslav, will be brought under a single roof by housing it in a ‘state of the art museum’ on the lines of the Van Gogh Museum of Amsterdam, at the Tataguni Estate near Bangalore.

All works of the Roerichs will be collected from every source, including Karnataka Chitrakala Parishat, the Venkatappa Art Gallery, IRMT Museum, Kulu and many other private art collectors to build a fitting memorial to these two great Russian artistes who lived and worked in India for many years.
Speaking to Express, Kaushik Mukherjee, Additional Chief Secretary, State Forest Department, said, “The government’s main concern was to retrieve many precious paintings which are still lying around in godowns, kept improperly, exposed to heat and humidity the past few decades”.
Regarding the Master Plan for renovation of the 468-acre estate of the Roerich couple, Mukherjee said, “The project, being a multi-departmental effort, the concurrence of Horticulture, Kannada and Culture Departments and others was needed, while the estimates are still being worked out for setting up the museum, a 30-acre-rose garden including renovation of the artist couple’s residence.
Although, the project has been conceptualised with plans for private- public partnership, we plan to raise funds as the corporate sector too is interested,” the Additional Chief Secretary added.

Mired in controversies and litigations for the past 17 years, the huge Tataguni Roerich estate now back in custody of the government, is now being secured with a boundary wall that is being constructed to protect it from encroachers and real estate sharks.
“We are desirous of preserving the heritage of the legendary couple in all its glory,” said Mujeeb Ahmed, CEO, Roerich & Devika Rani Roerich Estate Board and added, “There is a need to save the rare linoleum (lavendar) trees that dot the estate and decision taken whether oil can be extracted as it was done earlier.” The Tataguni estate will be a veritable painter’s paradise once the project is completed and will espouse the cause of the Roerichs which was dear to them, he opined.
It may be recalled here that the battle for possession of the estate by Karnataka government began in 1996 as both K T Plantations and Roerich’s Secretary Mary Joyce Poonacha had claimed share in the prestigious property.
But the government finally got possession with the apex court upholding the ‘acquisition of the property’ in last August.
With many art works and valuable pieces of the couple’s legendary jewellery collection still untraceable, the government hopes to do ‘whatever possible’ and save the art heritage for posterity and give the people not only a lung space but also a watering hole for the visiting pachyderms.

Mar 13, 2012


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