Vadehra Art Gallery was established in 1987 in New Delhi at a time when modern Indian art was still considered exotic and its access limited to a privileged few. The gallery was born out of a vision to build an institution dedicated to Indian art, and the need for a professional platform to connect artists with art lovers.
Vadehra Art Gallery stands today as one of the oldest and well respected art galleries in India, while representing a roster of artists that spans over four generations. Modern masters like MF Husain, Ram Kumar, SH Raza, Tyeb Mehta and Akbar Padamsee, who were integral to the founding years of the gallery, find prime spot in the gallery’s calendar alongside subsequent generation of modernists like Arpita Singh, A Ramachandran, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Bhupen Khakhar, Rameshwar Broota, Paramjit Singh, Ganesh Pyne, Chameli Ramachandran, Anjolie Ela Menon and Mrinalini Mukherjee. Vadehra’s contemporary programme includes some of the biggest names in Indian art today such as of Atul Dodiya, Shilpa Gupta, Anju Dodiya, Nalini Malani, Ravinder Reddy, Atul Bhalla, Praneet Soi, Sumedh Rajendran, Hema Upadhyay, BV Suresh, and Jayashree Chakravarthy. Exciting younger contemporaries include Rakhi Peswani, Zakkir Hussain, Susanta Mandal, Gipin Varghese and Paribartana Mohanty.
Keeping with its wider role as an institution dedicated to the arts Vadehra Art Gallery paved the way for an active collaboration between private and public art sectors staring in the 1990s. The gallery organized seminal retrospectives with the government-run National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) of senior artists Ram Kumar, Raghu Rai, Devyani Krishna, A Ramachandran and SH Raza. The gallery has also loaned works to Kunstmuseum, Bern; the Chicago Cultural Centre; the Women’s Studies Research Centre, Brandies University; Jardin d’Acclimatation; Singapore Art Museum; and, Mori Art Museum, Japan, among others.
As a key artistic interlocutor to the audiences in India the gallery expanded its exhibition programme in 2007 to include important names from the international contemporary art scene. This saw the opening of exhibitions like Bacon Freud Mehta Souza: an exhibition of works by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Tyeb Mehta and FN Souza (2007); Distance and Proximity: an exhibition of works of Bernd and HillaBecher and their students Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth and Candida Hoffer, among others (2008); Juul Kraijer: Recent works (2010); Yoko Ono: My Beautiful Daughters, with a parallel retrospective The Seeds (2012); and Wolfgang Laib’s Passageway (2012).
Vadehra Art Gallery ventured into publishing in 1996, finding a crucial need for adequate documentation, critical writing, and quality reproduction of images. In the last two decades the gallery has published 10 books and hundreds of illustrated exhibition catalogues and artists’ monographs, in addition to coffee table books, picture books for children, and even an art directory. In 2010 VAG entered into collaboration with the international publishing house Prestel to produce monographs on Indian artists.
The Vadehra Art Gallery Book|Store was opened in 2008. This one of a kind space in the city combines a book store and reading room, with a grand collection of books, journals, catalogues and memorabilia exclusively dedicated to the visual arts. The book store, in addition to the gallery’s two exhibition spaces, is located in Defence Colony at the heart of New Delhi, opens the gallery’s programmes to include film screenings, talks, workshops and educational outreach.