It was a journey that began when people came to the Pan Family Herilum at Jewelers. Ajit Gadgil, a sixth-generation jeweler, could not help but admire the antiquities and realize that some of these rare pieces of art need to be preserved. He found it impossible to melt these priceless pieces of metal and began to hold on to some of them. Similarly, people brought old traditional ‘Paithani’ silk sari which was woven with gold lace. The norm was to burn the sari to get the gold out but Gadgil kept some of them, a close to 200 years. It was the beginning of a collector’s journey.
An understanding of inheritance and tradition naturally came to Gadgil. A retail jewelry brand with a legacy of 190 years, PN Gadgil is the first port for the generation of Maharashtrians willing to buy any type of gold and silver jewelry. The brand follows a cult especially in Pune. The business account of the first day of 1832 is still preserved with the Gadgil family.
For the past 25 years, Gadgil has been quietly creating a collection of antiques, paintings, sculptures, silverware, jewelry, textiles, lamps, prints, lithographs, photographs, vinyl records and paintings. About 1,500 such items have found their way into a museum. Gadgil added paintings to his collection with the work of MF Hussain, SH Reza, Manjit Bawa, FN Suja, NS Bendre, Raja Ravi Burma, Tayyab Mehta, Jamini Roy, KH Ara, KK Hebbar, J Swaminathan and Sadananda Bakra.
PN Gadgil & Sons, (a de-merged entity of PN Gadgil) and museum founder Ajit Gadgil said he wanted to share the joy he got from his collection with everyone, especially the younger generation to get a glimpse of the country. Rich culture and tradition. So. He decided to combine everything and set up the Japurja Museum of Art and Culture.
The museum is built on eight acres of land in Pune. Its name is inspired by a Marathi poem by Marathi poet Keshabsut alias Krishnaji Keshab Damle.
Godgill has become involved with the artist community by creating mini art galleries in its gold retail showrooms. He offered the artists a place to showcase their art from a dedicated space in the store. This platform has been used by many emerging artists. For him, Japurja was supposed to take this theme further with an immersive and holistic experience of Indian culture.
Raju Sutar, curator of the Japurja Museum, said such a collection required passion and insanity and Gadgil had plenty of it. He spent seven years following a single print of King Ravi Varma and has collected 2,000 prints to date.
According to Sutar, only 30-35% of the Gadgil collection is on display at the museum. They all have to rotate the exhibition to be able to display, he added.