The Poet Jami
Attributed to the artist Keshav Das
Mughal, India, circa 1605-10
Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
Folio: 29.5 x 20.5 cm
Painting: 14 x 7.5 cm
Asia Week New York 2016
On the occasion of Asia Week 2016, it is a pleasure to return to New York with a fine and diverse selection of classical Indian paintings dating from 1600 – 1825 and early photographs of India. Together they provide a vivid glimpse of life in the Subcontinent.
Highlights this year include works from the Mughal, Deccan and Rajput Courts. An allegory of youth and fertility: a newly discovered Golconda painting of circa 1680 depicts a young woman offering an apple to her child. A sublime pleasure pavilion of courtly splendor is found in the large and refined album page ‘Ladies celebrate Holi’, commissioned by Antoine Polier at Lucknow, a Swiss adventurer in India in the 1780s. Women also take center stage in two intimate, jewel-like paintings from Udaipur that depict temple interiors.
A sublime portrait made for the Emperor Jehangir, and a sensitive and highly perceptive Afghan family by the Fraser artist represents the pinnacle of achievement in Indian painting. From the Mughal courts that continued to flourish in the 18th century, is a delicate painting of court ladies visiting a holy man, of circa 1720, where the artist paints in the earlier style associated with Shah Jahan. A dazzling elephant fight by the gifted painter Mir Kalan Khan displays an otherworldly realm. Two vibrant Shahnama leaves illustrate the best of luxury manuscripts being made in the late 18th century. They retain the most luminous mineral pigments. Master drawings from Guler in the Punjab Hills by the great painter Manaku, and Ragamala drawings by the Sirohi master display the fluid line of the Indian brush.
The exhibition concludes with an exceptional group of photographic works by Raja Deen Dayal, recently researched by Deborah Hutton. A representative collection of his oeuvre – thirty-five albumen prints by India’s leading photographer of the 19thcentury.
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