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Preserving the past

For the past 50 years, Cherian Brothers has been restoring works of old masters and rare photographs



Fostering art: At the Cherian Art Gallery. Pic by K. V. Srinivasan

FIFTY YEARS in the business and still going strong. Cherian Brothers was started by Chevalier P.J. Cherian, durbar artist of Kochi, in 1954, and the golden jubilee is being celebrated by his son Alex Cherian and grand daughter Merry Biju.

He brought all his experience in restoration of old paintings at Kochi to his business in Madras, besides running a photo studio. For many years, whenever a girl's photograph had to be sent to a prospective bridegroom, the obvious choice for most people was the Cherian Brothers studio. Though P.J. Cheian's other sons took to different professions, Alex chose to follow in his father's footsteps, and now Alex's daughter Merry is managing the business.

Alex learnt the restoration techniques from his father and guides the artists in the studio in restoring as well as copying works of old masters such as Ravi Varma. Cherian Brothers specialises in portrait painting. They can create a life-size portrait from a passport photograph. There are separate sections for photography, painting, graphics, framing and lamination in the studio.

Several churches in Kerala stand witness to their skill. The Baroque paintings on the walls and ceilings of churches, which have faded or colours changed during repair work were restored to their original glory by the artists from Cherian Brothers. Many paintings at the Raj Bhavan and the Bishop House in Chennai have been restored by them.

Many corporate houses are their regular clients for whom they mostly make abstracts. As Ravi Varma is Alex's favourite artist, one can see copies of his paintings in his studio. Buyers for such works are generally Indians settled abroad. You can order copies of originals, landscapes, abstracts, still life and figurative works on the website.

As part of Cherian Brothers' 50th anniversary celebrations, some of their creations are on display at the studio, till December 24, 9 a.m. - 6.30 p.m. at 31, Sardar Patel Road, Guindy, ph: 22300625.

LAKSHMI VENKATRAMAN

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