NGMA’s inauguration was marked by an exhibition of sculptures. All the prominent sculptors of the time like Debi Prasad Roy Chowdhury, Ramkinkar Baij, Sankho Chaudhuri, Dhanraj Bhagat, Sarbari Roy Chowdhury and others had participated. The show spoke of the painstaking preparations made by NGMA’s first curator Herman Goetz. A noted German art historian, Goetz had earlier been responsible for setting up the Baroda Museum.Since Goetz’s tenure, NGMA has had a string of distinguished directors.
The Gallery is the premier institution of its kind in India. It is run and administered as a subordinate office to the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. The gallery is a repository of the cultural ethos of the country and showcases the changing art forms through the passage of the last hundred and fifty years starting from about 1857 in the field of Visual and Plastic arts. Notwithstanding some gaps and some trivia, the NGMA collection today is undeniably the most significant collection of modern and contemporary art in the country today.