Getting to know celebrated art collector couple Jane and Kito de Boer

MAY 6, 2019 | By Sakshi Rai
CLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT Artwork by Ganesh Pyne titled Assassin, Medium-Tempera on Canvas; Artwork by Chittaprosad Bhattacharya, Medium-Woodblock on paper.
CLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT The Dubai home of Jane and Kito de Boer; Jane and Kito de Boer; Modern Indian Painting: From The De Boer Collection.

Rediscover the joy in tracing back old memories associated with digging up personal treasures, collected over time, as you unearth the history and sentiments they awake. We had the pleasure of conversing with one such famed collector duo that lives every day like this! Owners of abodes replete with art collectibles from near and far, with a story tagged to each, Kito and Jane de Boer tell us a bit about their encounters with art and India through the years. Having come to India as art students, they stayed on long after, expressing their attraction to its abundant heritage as having stumbled upon a lost world of secret richness, which they set about soaking in — seeing, tasting and feeling the vibe of the nation. Recounting fond memories of purchasing their London home only after ensuring it could accommodate their beloved wall paintings, they joke about how collecting is their obsession and not their profession.

Their new venture, a Book on the collection by Giles Tilloston titled Modern Indian Painting: From The De Boer Collection, is a glimpse into their photo gallery and conversations with iconic personalities in Indian modern art. Speaking a bit about the approach for this book, which they have been working for on nearly a decade, Jane says, “ We were on the lookout for someone who could refer to our works but not infer from it, bringing a completely new outlook”. Covering major art movements and uprisings through the course of the book, certain concentrations within the collection include — a section covering The Bengal School, progressive artist groups of Bombay and modern Indian painting reinterpreted post independence. A book not restricted to just the signature styles of art, but also the political and cultural situation that it emerged in, this read allows you to travel across twentieth century through the pages. Conversations with legends like Ganesh Pyne, A. Ramachandran and Rameshwar Broota along with images of their artworks offers multiple perspectives and artisanal dialogue within the confines of a singular book.