A Secret Garden

Indian Painting from a Private Collection
  • 18 March - 29 June 2014

    The Museum Rietberg is proud to have this opportunity to exhibit the most important works from a private collection - A Secret Garden - in a special show at the Park-Villa Rieter. The sixty or so exhibited works illustrate important traditions and regional styles of Indian painting. The earliest date from the Sultanate (1206–1526). The collection also brings together drawings, portraits, and illuminated poems from the first half of the Mughal Empire, including works by artists such as Manohar Das and Bichitr. But later traditions of Mughal painting, be it in Murshidabad, Patna, Faizabad, or Lucknow, are also represented, as is painting from the Deccan Plateau.

    One especially important group in the Secret Garden is that made up of paintings from Central India and the Malwa region. A inscription on one of the four Ragamala paintings on show tells us that the works come from Bundelkhand, a region belonging to the Orchha rulers’ sphere of influence, making them especially important for further research into Central Indian painting.

    Rajasthan and the Pahari region are also represented with some exceptionally fine works. Among them are paintings from Kishangarh and Jodhpur, both of which had traditions heavily influenced by Mughal workshops, and others by artists from Bundi, Kota, Sirohi, and Udaipur. The family of the brothers Manaku and Nainsukh is especially well represented with some ten works in total. Concluding the collection in terms of both style and chronology are some exquisite studies of fish made for British patrons.

    The English-language exhibition catalogue, to be published by Scheidegger und Spiess, discusses 105 works selected from the Secret Garden in some depth. It also contains essays and detailed analyses of the works by three of the world’s leading experts in Indian painting, namely B. N. Goswamy, Jeremiah Losty, and John Seyller.


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