She Came, She Painted, She Conquered

A look at five women artists who redefined womanhood as a subject of enquiry.

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Motichand Khajanchi’s Legacy of Rajasthani Miniatures

The history of collecting classical Indian art in modern India is full of remarkable personalities. Karl Khandalavala, chairman of the Prince of Wales Museum (now the CSMVS Museum) from 1958-1995, was one of the most influential scholars in the field. He advised several early collectors, including Colonel R K Tandan and Khorshed Kharanjavala. In 2015, Saffronart auctioned a selection of miniatures and sculptures from their collections. The auction’s success, and the record prices it achieved point to a growing interest in acquiring quality works that represent a centuries-old tradition. In its upcoming sale, Saffronart presents yet another exemplary selection of miniature paintings from the collection of Motichand Khajanchi.

Motichand Khajanchi collected some of the finest miniatures in Rajasthan.

Motichand Khajanchi collected some of the finest miniatures in Rajasthan.

Motichand Khajanchi was born into a family of jewellers, whose patrons included the royal family of Bikaner. Following his father into the family business, Khajanchi travelled across the country and encountered diverse artistic traditions. He began collecting his first miniature paintings aged 15. The paintings he sought out, often buying them at locally held auctions, were also among the finest he collected. He spent heavily on them, often landing in trouble with his father in his early years, but also earned the friendship of artists and scholars who influenced him.

As Khajanchi’s collection grew, he was recognised as an authority on Rajasthani miniatures. He pored over old handwritten manuscripts that deepened his understanding of the literary and religious references in the paintings. When Rai Krishnadasa, a renowned art historian and the founder of Bharat Kala Bhawan in Varanasi visited Khajanchi, he was impressed with the quality of his collection. Krishnadasa suggested that Khajanchi lend some of his works to be displayed in a museum to benefit and educate the public. A selection of important works from Khajanchi’s collection, curated by Krishnadasa and Karl Khandalavala, was exhibited at the Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta in 1960, and published in the accompanying catalogue. Some remain in the collection of the National Museum, New Delhi.

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Saffronart’s upcoming Classical Indian Art Auction features some of the most exquisite Rajasthani miniatures from Khajanchi’s collection. They include paintings from Bikaner, Mewar, Jaipur, Bundi, Kishangarh and Jodhpur.

Some of the paintings carry artist signatures on the reverse, and a few are from the personal collection of the Royal Family of Bikaner, making them all the more covetable.

Saffronart’s live auction of Classical Indian Art is on 9 March 2017 at the Saffronart gallery in Mumbai. It is preceded by viewings from 3 – 9 March 2017.

Indian Portraits The Face Of A People at the Delhi Art Gallery

Elizabeth Prendiville shares a note about the Delhi Art Gallery’s exhibition featuring 250 years of Indian portraiture.

Delhi Art Gallery - L.N. Taskar

Delhi Art Gallery – L.N. Taskar

New York: This fall the Delhi Art Gallery will explore the art historical narrative of portrait work in Indian art. The birth of this particular stylistic approach was telling of the environment of cosmopolitan India nearly three centuries ago. European artists incorporated this presence of realistic portraiture into Indian culture in the 18th Century while looking for commissioned art opportunities in major cities such as Calcutta and Bombay. The relationship between the sitter, the artist and the creative work it produced was also influenced by the budding increase in photography at this time. Rather than photographic practices being directly induced by portraiture, they were mutually beneficial and the two mediums overlapped immensely at this time. Portraiture can be seen as a deep look into the most prevelent members of society at this time. Upper class and elite individuals and families are represented including a great number of women. In addition to presenting a beautiful illustration of the royal and privileged at the time of inception, many works also showed the most important relationships in the artist’s life. This intimate look into each individual sitter makes the exhibition’s name “The Face Of A People” very appropriate.

Delhi Art Gallery-K. Laxma Goud

Delhi Art Gallery-K. Laxma Goud

The Delhi Art Gallery’s exhibition documents this rich history of creative integration and the ebb and flow of stylistic changes that brought upon modernism and contemporary art. It will document the subtle evolution of modern portrait work in Indian art and feature many well-known masters of this medium. These include Raja Ravi Varma, R. Sardesai, J.P. Gangooly and contemporaries such as M.F. Husain. The exhibition will illustrate each artist’s individual approach to portraiture. Some artists focused specifically on the minute physical attributes of their subject, while others took a more philosophical and thematic approach.

The exhibition will be on display September 24th through October 26th. While in Delhi this fall, be sure to take in this beautiful expression of Indian portraiture through the ages.

To learn more about “Indian Portraits The Face Of A People” visit the Delhi Art Gallery’s website here.

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