Solvyns' People Of Bengal-DAG Exhibition, Travels To Mumbai For The First Time

Solvyns' People Of Bengal-DAG Exhibition, Travels To Mumbai For The First Time

Les Hindoûs, Solvyns’s second, enlarged edition that was published by the artist in Paris between 1808 and 1812

Dhairya GajaraUpdated: Monday, April 22, 2024, 04:48 PM IST
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Mumbai: In collaboration with Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, ‘People of Bengal: Coloured Etchings by Baltazard Solvyns’, a DAG exhibition, will travel to Mumbai after a successful showing in Delhi in 2021. For the first time, DAG will bring to Mumbai the vast series of etchings that Solvyns called Les Hinds in line with the company’s long-term vision of making art accessible to the general public, and to bring to India for public display works by foreign artists who practised in India in the preceding centuries.

Les Hindoûs, Solvyns’s second edition published between 1808 and 1812

Les Hindoûs, Solvyns’s second, enlarged edition that was published by the artist in Paris between 1808 and 1812, a four-volume set and now a rare find, is a documentation of the people and material culture that Solvyns encountered over the decade he lived in Bengal during the 1790s. The exhibition has been curated by Dr. Giles Tillotson, Senior Vice President of Exhibitions, DAG. The exhibition is accompanied by a book which introduces, illustrates and contextualises this body of work.

Ashish Anand, CEO and Managing Director, DAG, notes, “In the eighteenth century, when Solvyns lived in Calcutta, India’s relationship with Europe was not on equal terms; but two hundred years on we can return his gaze with equanimity and ease, to explore not just what his depiction of India tells us about him, but whether we can learn in it anything about ourselves. Solvyns may not always seek to please, but his searching gaze will certainly intrigue us.” 

Exhibition is a foreigner’s view of India’s past

Opening on April 27, 2024 at Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai, and on view until 29th June 2024, this exhibition is a foreigner’s view of India’s past in the eighteenth century, a work that focuses on Bengal and neighbouring regions, where the artist lived and worked for over a decade starting in 1791. 

Tasneem Zakaria Mehta, Managing Trustee & Director, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, states, “The Museum houses one of India's largest collections of clay figurines depicting the people and lifestyle of India in the 19th-early 20th century.

Solvyns's etchings from Les Hindous, which is a part of the Museum's collection of rare books and prints, were an important source of inspiration for some of the figurines. They present the same stance, clothes, facial features, and other accoutrements as the etchings by Solvyns and other European artists who visited India in the 19th century.”

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