Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Master Painters of India and Adventures in India

Yesterday was preview day at the Met The Mets new Indian Painting exhibit opens tomorrow.
200 examples of exquisite small qouache paintings.And not to be missed!
You want to dress 'Indian' - magnifying glasses are provided.
The only other place you'll see this exhibit is Zurich - it was a 2 year collaborative effort. Examples range from worldwide collections including the Queen and Windsor Castle. A perfect portrait of Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal painted on horseback.
An unfinished miniature reveals the stages of creation.

A film shows how.Many watercolor papers are still made in India.
The original pigments used, many saved in clamshells.

I spent time in India in the fashion biz and fell in love with miniatures - Kumar Gallery let me sit in a back room and go through stacks of painted papers - this is my mini collection.
I came home, immersed myself in gouache and tiny brushes. Portrait of my niece, cookbook author, Louisa Shafi.
In '97 I went back to Northern India with my sister.
We stayed at the fabulous Jagat Niwas Palace hotel in Udaipur owned by the Maharana Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar. A grand soiree was held in celebration of the new moon. Everyone dressed in white. The menu was all-white food. 
The Maharana and I chatted about miniatures. He invited me to view his private collection after the soiree. His paintings were protected by two stuffed tigers emerging from either side of the gallery walls.
'You must go past the tigers,' he commanded.
He served me Indian-made Champagne and showed me his portrait collection.
The clock struck midnight.
'I have to go.' I said.
'Ah, you are afraid of me,'
'YES' and I ran out the door.
I still get invitations to the annual awards ceremony in March from the kind Maharana.
Lovely Indian treasures await you in the Met gift shop.

And a pistachio gelato at Sant Ambroeus.


  1. My goddess! The life you've had!

  2. My god, these are gorgeous! And your travels sound absolutely fantastic...


  3. Gorgeouse colors!
    Love all the reds and yellows.
    Such adventures you've had cherie!
    A pandoras box full of them.

  4. Whaaaat!? Some art loving Indian Maharana
    trying to steal your affections away from me, after all these years?!
    Well at least his exquisite taste was not limited to art.
    Wonderful colorful post, Carol. It would be fun to experiment with Indian papers.

  5. Fabulous post Carol.
    When I met my husband, he'd just returned from Goa and his stories of India were fascinating.
    I'm still listening to them!

  6. i LOVE Indian miniatures.

    hmmmmmm Zurich, NY. Zurich, NY. NY. Zurich!

    There is chocolate in Zurich. Very VERY good chocolate!

  7. Lucinda12:47 PM

    My dear, what a checkered past you have!!!!

  8. I studied the Mugal period of art work and I really enjoyed Shah Jahan's ideas of art, especially in his palace. I did an essay comparing Babur, Shah Jahan and Shah Abbas ideas of art.
    Thanks for sharing!

    The Wanderfull Traveler

  9. He invted you to see his private collection?? Good grief, Carol, please get some pepper spray!
    As to the art - I think the Moghal on horseback is the best.
    What other careers have you had? I can't keep up.

  10. Carol, from your reviews, I am now stacking up a collection of Met exhibits that I will eventually find the time to view.

    Don't think that I knew before about your India journey. I would love to talk to you about this, again, when I find that time.

    That final gelato photo is making me soooo regret that after today's day of errands, I must return to work tomorrow. Still, if the weather remains warm, I might find a gelato on my midday break.


  11. You have many layers of facts and fun that just keep peeling away here. :)) Just when we think we've heard it all you come up with more. Love it! This is a great show. Love the colors. Really like the second one with the woman holding the big pink flowers.

  12. If only my sister hadn't been along on the trip I might have 'lived' dangerously...

    c'est la vie

  13. Fantastic exhibit and I never knew about the clamshells...as for the private viewing...you're lucky you're not a sex slave now! :-)

  14. This truly was fascinating! However, I must say I am very happy I do not have an elephant for my head. :^)

  15. Thanks for the heads up, Carol. This looks like a great exhibition - I'll add it to the fall line-up!

  16. Now that's a new pic-up line:

    "Hey, baby, wanna come up and see my miniatures?"

    hee hee heeee

    Do you know how fortunate you are to be so close to such great ART?

  17. OMG, I love it! He asked you back to "see his etchings!!" Such a great story, interesting journeys. XO

  18. What an environmentally friendly idea it is to store pigments in clam shells! I love how creative people had to be before we started using plastic for everything.

    One of my favorite paintings is a miniature one from Bali that a friend gave to me. Your post made me think that religion is probably not the only thing that the Balinese adopted from India.

  19. i am swooooning over
    and down
    from this story...

    {{ welll
    you KNEW i would! }}

    now, about
    this part--->
    'YES' I said and ran out the door...

    i ADORE that you did that!


    at the next ~invite~
    Just Say Yes!

    i will go with you!
    no problems!

    {{ i can B packed & ready
    in 20 minutes }}

  20. What a wonderful memory of your time in India. Love the inside view of this exhibition! Thanks!!

    xox Mrs. Châtelaine in Paris

  21. I have been thinking about painting with gouache for awhile lately. this post inspired me to get them out. I'd bought a pack of 5"x5" aqua boards Which I have never tried so will do a miniature. I live the one of the Mughal on his paint steed! I had a horse that coloring whose name was Prince.
    wish you could have gotten a photo of the stuffed tigers coming out of the wall! but you escaped the clutches of perhaps the real tiger?

  22. this post is hilarious!!!!

    love it!

    i'm tweeting about it now.

    xo Louisa


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