Arty Fact: Nasreen Mohamedi
An intimate account of anecdotes from the art world
Think modernist line-based drawings and the late Nasreen Mohamedi comes to mind. Born in Karachi, she settled in Vadodara in the early 1970s and taught fine arts at the MS University of Baroda. Over the past few years, her works have garnered tremendous attention and demand from art connoisseurs. Ironically, the artist remained lesser known during her lifetime.
Artist Manisha Gera Baswani and her husband Rahul Baswani are avid art collectors and the art in their collection is minimalistic, often monochromatic. Their home in Gurugram is full of art and the display stretches from the lift lobby right into the washrooms.
In 2005, the Baswanis decided to acquire a work of Nasreen Mohamedi and selected a drawing (ink and pencil on paper) from a Delhi gallery. The piece was in mint condition, framed by Mohamedi herself.
The 9x12-inch work has been lent for significant shows internationally, travelling to Tate Liverpool and a museum at Brussels in its original mount and frame.
A few years ago the Baswanis decided to conserve and reframe the drawing. High humidity and heat in India have adverse effect on artworks, especially on paper. It was taken to a popular framer, who insisted on opening it in their presence.
Once the frame was opened and the supporting board removed, they discovered, to everyone’s utter astonishment, a whole new work behind the original. A frame, untouched, changed several hands and travelled the globe with a secret well kept.