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A Collector's Passion

South Asian Selections from the Nalin Collection

June 12–November 9, 2009

A Collector’s Passion brings together more than 50 of some of the most artistically and culturally significant South Asian and Himalayan works of art from the collection of Dr. David R. Nalin. Dr. Nalin began collecting a variety of objects as a child-everything from baseball cards to shells to insects-but it was the time he spent on assignment in South Asia during the 1960s that inspired his passion for art collecting. Dr. David Nalin was sent to Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) through the U.S. National Insititutes of Health, and it was there that he developed what would become a revolutionary treatment for cholera.
During his time there, Dr. Nalin became increasingly captivated by the region’s culture, and concerned for its artistic preservation in the face of mounting social conflicts that eventually enveloped the area and culminated in 1971. Dr. Nalin recalls encountering a recycling market where precious bronze and copper sculptures hundreds of years old were being melted down for metal. “I felt an overriding need to preserve as many of these artworks as possible,” he says, “and through visiting exhibitions and reading many catalogues and books, I gradually acquired the knowledge, taste and “˜eye’ enabling me to create and preserve several extensive and beautiful groups of chiefly Buddhist and Hindu art works.”
A Collector’s Passion features works from India, Bangladesh, Tibet and Nepal ranging from the 3rd century to the 19th century that Dr. Nalin carefully accumulated over several decades. He has also exhibited his beneficence as a patron of the arts, donating hundreds of pieces to a number of high profile institutions. Works of particular note in this exhibition include four paintings from a large set of Tibetan teachers that honor the transmission of a pivotal Buddhist teaching; a repousee Nagaraja, or King of the Snakes; and a sculpted representation of the wrathful protective Buddhist deity Pehar executed in pure silver.

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