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Indepth Arts News:

"Domains of Wonder: Selected Masterworks of Indian Painting"
2005-10-22 until 2006-01-22
San Diego Museum of Art
San Diego, CA, USA United States of America

The San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) announces the launch of an internationally touring exhibition featuring 125 of the finest examples from its extensive collection of paintings from India. Titled Domains of Wonder: Selected Masterworks of Indian Painting, the exhibition opens at SDMA in fall 2005 before traveling to both national and international venues, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in fall 2006 (additional venues pending). Domains of Wonder is accompanied by a 304-page scholarly catalogue written by the exhibition‚s co-curators Dr. B.N. Goswamy and Dr. Caron Smith. With more than 1,450 examples, the San Diego Museum of Art‚s Edwin Binney 3rd Collection is renowned worldwide as one of the largest and most important concentrations of South Asian painting outside of India. Organized by the San Diego Museum of Art, Domains of Wonder will be the first exhibition to fully survey the richness and depth of this remarkable collection by presenting 123 paintings and 2 bound manuscripts, ranging in date from the 14th through early 20th centuries.

Dr. Binney devoted more than 20 years of his life to amassing this truly encyclopedic collection, selecting works of the highest quality and greatest importance. The comprehensive nature of this collection is unique in its ability to provide a complete overview of Indian court painting with examples representing the best of each school. Dr. Goswamy, a noted Indian scholar, and Dr. Smith, formerly SDMA's curator of Asian art, have drawn from the collection‚s vast treasures to present in Domains of Wonder one of the best surveys of Indian painting possible from any single collection in the world. Dr. Sonya Quintanilla, SDMA‚s current curator of Asian art and an expert in the field of South Asian art, is overseeing the project‚s fruition and coordinating the exhibition's tour and two symposia.

"The San Diego Museum of Art is excited and privileged to share this inspiring collection of Indian painting with the world," says SDMA's executive director, Derrick R. Cartwright. "It has been a distinct pleasure to work with my admired colleagues Dr. Goswamy and Dr. Smith to organize such a landmark exhibition in the history of our Binney Collection. I am certain that this meticulously designed presentation of the collection‚s greatest works will impress all who visit it. The wonder of Indian painting is widely acknowledged, and we believe the collection that Edwin Binney formed is truly extraordinary."

The Binney Collection

In 1990 the San Diego Museum of Art became home to one of the world‚s finest collections of South Asian art when 1,453 works left to the Museum as a bequest by the late Edwin Binney 3rd (1925-1986), heir to the Crayola fortune, officially became part of SDMA's permanent collection. The works in the collection range in date from the 6th through 20th centuries, with the strength of the collection in paintings from India from the 15th through 19th centuries. Edwin Binney 3rd served on SDMA‚s Board of Trustees from 1977 to 1979 and from 1983 to 1986, maintaining an office (affectionately known as "Binney's Basement Baghdad") in the Museum's library. Over the course of 28 years, beginning in 1958 while at Harvard University and continuing after his move to San Diego until his death in 1986, Edwin Binney 3rd worked at fulfilling his ambition to build one of the most complete collections of South Asian paintings in the world.

The only other time a large selection of works from the Binney Collection has ever toured was from 1999 to 2003 when the exhibition Power and Desire: South Asian Paintings from the San Diego Museum of Art, Edwin Binney 3rd Collection traveled to New York, Hong Kong, Nice, Geneva, and Vancouver. The 70 works in this thematic exhibition explored the dynamics of relationships between rulers and subjects, lovers and their beloved, and gods and humans. Selections from the Binney Collection have also been seen at the San Diego Museum of Art as part of a regularly rotating series of highly focused displays of 15 to 20 objects in a small upstairs gallery, which first opened in 2001.

The Musical Mode Gauri, ca. 1770
Section VI: Clarity of Vision
Folio from a Ragamala series. Opaque watercolor and gold on paper
© San Diego Museum of Art. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection. 1990:1227

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