The mission of Mr R. N. Singh, the founder of the Progressive Art Gallery, is to take forward the legacy and trust reposed in him by the modern masters of contemporary Indian art. He sincerely believes that it is only when there is an amalgamation of resources that legacy becomes history. The eminent artists who helped and supported him set up the gallery in 2001 were the veritable who’s who of Indian art - M F Husain, F N Souza, K H Ara, S K Bakre, H A Gade, Somenath Hore, Bikash Bhattacharjee, J Swaminathan, Manjit Bawa, K S Kulkarni and K G Subramanyan among others. Many of them presented him paintings to help him when he was starting out, others generously gave him works to deal in.
In fact, it is the Progressive Artists’ Group that insisted he name the gallery after their group when he decided to start his gallery.
He built his enviable collection over 40 years, often with paintings given to him by artists in lieu of money he had lent them. In the early days it seemed like an unequal exchange due to the fluctuating realities of the economics of the art world, but it paid him back many folds. “I feel it is like a blessing they showered on me for the purity of my intent,” he says simply.
It is a matter of great satisfaction that the future of Progressive Art Gallery is in the able hands of his son Harsh Singh who is poised to take forward his father’s legacy into the next generation.
Harsh Singh CEO of Progressive Art Gallery has been involved in the Indian arts sphere since birth. He has grown up watching great Indian masters working on canvasses. From an early age he was surrounded with paintings. He followed his fathers’ footsteps and now actively takes care of new acquisitions and international market.
Indian art is having a global moment.
Harsh has recognized this advantage and turned it into an opportunity by taking Indian art globally. His move is helping instill confidence in the contemporary art scene and increasing international presence of Indian Art. Major collectors and museums across the world are seeking to buy Indian art and Progressive Art Gallery’s focus is to work with all these collectors around the world.
Harsh has just established his Dubai office for Progressive Art gallery and is also in process of opening one shortly in London. The art scene in Dubai and the Middle East has taken off in a big way in the region over the last few years and has become a major art centre internationally. Dubai as a meeting point for Indian artists with Middle Eastern and international audience.
Harsh believes that focussed exhibitions, innovative curations and a more vibrant exchange of ideas among contemporary and emerging artists will make Indian art into strong global currency.
He wants to create an environment where Indian artist, curators and collectors worldwide can finally have a global dialogue and appreciate Indian art.
With his dynamic approach and enthusiasm Progressive art gallery’s 40 years of journey will certainly make us all feel proud as a country, to finally give us all the international representation we deserve.
Harsh Singh with Masters of Modern Indian Art