A PAINTING FROM THE 'LARGE' GULER-BASOHLI BHAGAVATA PURANA SERIES: KRISHNA AND THE GOPAS SHELTERING FROM A STORM
A PAINTING FROM THE 'LARGE' GULER-BASOHLI BHAGAVATA PURANA SERIES: KRISHNA AND THE GOPAS SHELTERING FROM A STORM
A PAINTING FROM THE 'LARGE' GULER-BASOHLI BHAGAVATA PURANA SERIES: KRISHNA AND THE GOPAS SHELTERING FROM A STORM
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Property from a West Coast Private Collection
A PAINTING FROM THE 'LARGE' GULER-BASOHLI BHAGAVATA PURANA SERIES: KRISHNA AND THE GOPAS SHELTERING FROM A STORM

INDIA, PUNJAB HILLS, GULER OR BASOHLI, ATTRIBUTED TO THE FIRST GENERATION AFTER NAINSUKH AND MANAKU, CIRCA 1760

Details
A PAINTING FROM THE 'LARGE' GULER-BASOHLI BHAGAVATA PURANA SERIES: KRISHNA AND THE GOPAS SHELTERING FROM A STORM
INDIA, PUNJAB HILLS, GULER OR BASOHLI, ATTRIBUTED TO THE FIRST GENERATION AFTER NAINSUKH AND MANAKU, CIRCA 1760
image 10 ¼ x 14 3/8 in. (26 x 36.5 cm.)
folio 11 ¾ x 16 in. (29.8 x 40.6 cm.)
Provenance
R.E. Lewis, Inc., San Francisco.
John Yeon collection, Portland, acquired from the above in 1961.
Exhibited
M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, Indian Miniature Paintings from West Coast Private Collections, 29 May-19 July 1964, cat. 82.
Portland Art Museum, Quest for Beauty: The Architecture, Landscape and Collections of John Yeon, 13 May-3 September 2017.

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Lot Essay

The present painting is from a large series which W.G. Archer referred to as the ‘Large’ Guler-Basohli Bhagavata Purana series or the ‘Fifth’ Basohli Bhagavata Purana series of 1760-65 (Archer, Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills, vol.I, London, 1973, pp.49-51). In her discussion of four paintings from the same set in the Chester Beatty Library, Linda York Leach explains: "[They demonstrate] changes that occurred in traditional hill painting during the 18th century. [It] is one of the richest sources of information for our knowledge of Pahari paintings" (L.Y. Leach, Mughal and Other Indian Paintings from the Chester Beatty Library, Vol. II, 1995, p.1048).
The composition of the illustrations and style of painting exhibit a strong dependence and awareness of the work of Manaku and Nainsukh, sons of Pandit Seu, and the most renowned Pahari artists of this period. B.N. Goswamy and Eberhard Fischer note that the series is often attributed to Manaku’s son Fattu who was taught by his father. Fattu is thought to have lived with his uncle Nainsukh in Basohli for some time and would have, therefore, also incorporated artistic elements from the latter. It is possible that one of Nainsukh’s sons was also involved in the series (Goswamy (ed.)., et al., Masters of Indian Painting, New Delhi, 2011, p.689). Although difficult to firmly attribute the series to any one painter from the first generation after Manaku and Nainsukh, it is evident that a ‘family style’ can be recognized. Basohli was originally suggested as the place of production but it now seems more appropriate to link the series to a group of painters than to a specific place in the Pahari region.
The generation of artists after Nainsukh and Manaku are most known for their series completed in the last quarter of the 18th century, on the ‘Tehri-Garhwal’ Gita Govinda, the ‘Modi’ Bhagavata Purana, and the ‘Bharany’ Ramayana. These closely related series are lauded for their naturalistic celebration of nature and the Pahari landscape, delicate figures, and a pastel color palette. The present series, executed a couple decades earlier, more closely relies the Basohli style of Manaku, bolder in execution and color. This illustration is from the tenth book of the Bhagavata Purana which describes episodes from the life of Krishna. In the present scene Krishna, along with his brother Balarama, their fellow cowherds, and local princes shelter from a storm with their cattle.
The majority of this set was sold at Sotheby’s, London in February 1960 from the collection of Mrs. F.C. Smith. It is now widely dispersed among various public and private collections. The paintings all bear inscriptions on the reverse in takri and devanagari describing the illustrations. Some, like our painting, have red borders with black rules, others with black and double white rules. The image sizes vary. The earlier folios have images measuring approx. 23 x 33 cm. and the later folios have slightly larger images.
Additional paintings from this series have sold at Christie’s London on 28 October 2021, lot 60; 24 October, 2019, lot 132; 2 May 2019, lot 99; 12 June 2018, lot 143; 10 June 2015, lots 54-56; and Christie’s, South Kensington, 10 June 2013, lot 177; 7 October 2011, lots 394, 395. Another folio sold at Bonhams London 21 April 2015, lot 187. Other paintings from this series are in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (acc. no. 61.382), the Victoria and Albert Museum (acc. nos. IS.38-1960 through IS.42-1960), the San Diego Museum of Art (acc. no. 1990.1060) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (acc. no. 1987-52-13).

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