Govt to build museum for Roerich's works

Friday, 06 July 2012 14:36

The works of Russian painter Svetoslav Roerich, who made Bangalore his home, will soon be housed in a world-class museum, modelled on Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, at his Tataguni estate on the outskirts of Bangalore.

The museum is expected to have the studio, Roerich's graves and all paintings and documents of his family spread over 25 acres. The department of Kannada and culture has also prepared a blueprint to preserve the house where Roerich and his wife Devika Rani Roerich lived.

The horticulture department will set up a rose garden on 25 acres. The government done this after the Supreme Court in November 2011 upheld the constitutionality of the Roerich and Devika Rani Estate (Acquisition and Transfer) Act, 1996 and ordered that the land acquired be utilized only for what it was acquired.

Following the controversy that erupted after Roerich's death in January 1993 over management of the 468-acre estate, the state government in 1996 through an Act established a trust to preserve the paintings, art objects and carvings and also flora and fauna there. The chief secretary was appointed trust chairperson to administer the estate.

"A sub-committee was constituted under the chairmanship of additional chief secretary after the meeting of board of trustees. The sub-committee was asked prepare a plan for development to preserve and maintain the estate," official sources told TOI. "The remaining 418 acres will be handed over to the forest department to preserve the flora & fauna," the officer said.

Moving to Bangalore

Svetoslav Roerich, though Russian by birth, made India his home, along with his multifaceted father Prof. Nicholas Roerich. After his marriage to Devika Rani, then first lady of the Indian screen, the Svetoslavs shifted to Bangalore from Kulu Valley, Himachal Pradesh.

They became cultural ambassadors of Russia, fostering friendship and understanding between the two countries. Initially, the couple leased a house in Gavipurarm Extension. Before shifting to a centrally located house on Edward Road, they bought the sprawling Tataguni estate on Kanakapura Road. The estate was developed with several aromatic trees and shrubs, a spacious farm house and a studio where he painted some of his later works. The studio housed Svetoslav's creations, his priceless collection of art, artifacts and curios, including some masterpieces of father and son.

Anil Kumar M, TNN | Jul 6, 2012


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