SCHOOL OF RAJA RAVI VARMA
Signed 'R. C. Tumbooran' bottom center right; also inscribed with title bottom left outside the painted oval, and inscribed 'by Revi Varma Coil Tumbooran/Travancore' bottom right outside the painted oval, oil on canvas, painted in the oval
30 1/4 x 23 in. (76.8 x 58.4cm)
Private Collection, New York, New York since circa 1960s.
Varma is regarded as the most famous academic artist of India during the last quarter of the 19th and early part of the 20th century. A minor prince from Kerala, Varma was one of a group of talented Indian artists who gained fame during the British Raj. He was the first Indian artist to employ European techniques and aesthetics to depict scenes from Indian epics. Though he had no technical training, he was an early Indian landscapist but more importantly, a portraitist who often worked on commission on behalf of British and Indian aristocracy. Varma's brother, C. Raja Raja Varma was Raja Ravi's co-worker and business manager. They were known as the 'Ram' and 'Laxman' of Indian art. Together, the two established the "Ravi Varma Fine Arts Lithographic Press" in Bombay in 1984. It was regarded as the most technically innovative Indian commercial press of its day, and prints produced by the Press had a strong influence on modern day Indian aesthetics.
For related paintings by Varma, please see Rupika Chawla, Raja Ravi Varma, Painter of Colonial IndiaAhmedabad: 2010, fig. 6.2 ("The Coquette") and fig. 6.3 ("Lady with Fruit"), (each illustrated p. 247).