Amin Jaffer© HelloIndia

HELLO! 100 Most Influential: Amin Jaffer

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As told to Vishwaveer Singh

Why he matters: The former Christie’s honcho is a gifted raconteur, narrating tales of India’s most stylish eras to a wider audience. Today, he heads the famed Al Thani Collection and jet sets around the world, rubbing shoulders with the gatekeepers of taste while carrying on his mission of bringing Indian art and antiquity to the fore. Best friend Poonam Bhagat shares an insight into what makes this consummate curator Indian to the core.

Amin Jaffer’s chic style is matched by his deep knowledge of art, based on which he has built a global career in museums. Besides path-breaking books on Indian furniture, jewels and luxury goods made for the maharajas, he has curated spectacular exhibitions across the globe—from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Forbidden City, from the V&A to the Chateau de Fontainebleau.

Now the Director of The Al Thani Collection, he looks after the museum of masterpieces of avant-garde design, in an 18th century palace on the Place de la Concorde in Paris. His houses in London, Paris, Venice and Portugal, reflect his eclectic interests and life experience, with objects and works of art from across cultures and periods. Here, Amin mixes things up: Japanese screens, French furniture, modern minimalist paintings, Renaissance and Baroque sculpture, Indian miniatures, along with elements from nature, like tonnes of flowers.

The best times we’ve had are on our travels, most recently in Rome. Our trips combine inside glimpses of museums with fabulous people, from designers and collectors to princesses, always culminating in a great party.

Born in Rwanda and living a bit everywhere, Amin is an Indian at heart, preferring dhokla to caviar, as I’ve witnessed on many occasions. In fact, I always arrive from Mumbai with a hand carry of Gujju snacks for him!

Wherever you travel with him, you bump into friends—on planes and in airports, restaurants and dinners. There’s always a long-lost museum director or artist friend, a child of a head of state or a famous writer around the corner who opens a whole new world…

And so, Amin Jaffer, the consummate art curator, author and auction expert, continues to pose Eastern against Western ways of seeing, in an era where the two worlds are fusing at ever deeper levels, building on a much-needed climate of global understanding.

To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!