Interaction of Cultures: Indian and Western Painting (1780 – 1910)

The Ehrenfeld Collection

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This exhibition will feature approximately 95 works from The Ehrenfeld Collection, one of the most important private collections of Indian art in the United States. The project encompasses the period from 1780 to 1910, from the time of the Mughal kingdoms until well into the British “Raj.” The first North American exhibition to consider the artistic interaction between these cultures, it will demonstrate the artistic evolution in India of the non-Indian artist from historical depictions to purely aesthetic studies as well as his Indian counterpart’s evolution from European employed native painter to independent artist. The exhibition comprises primarily paintings on canvas and paper, along with a few exceptional watercolors, drawings, and prints. The aesthetic quality of the works will lure the viewer into one of the most captivating periods of world history.

All are connected by an underlying narrative that introduces the dramatic political history of India (including scenes of mutinies and revolts against
the English). But rather than giving a complete historical survey, the exhibition concentrates on cornerstones of colonial Indian art history and
masterworks of the non-Indian legacy. The western painters represented include Thomas and William Daniell, George Chinnery, Robert Home, Sir Charles D'Oyly, Sir Edward Lear, William Simpson, and Edwin Lord Weeks. Among the Indian artists will be Jivan Ram, Abanindranath Tagore, Ravi Varma, M.A. Rahman Chugtai, and Amrita Sher-Gil. The exhibition was organized by Art Services International and guest curated by Joachim K. Bautze, Ph.D., Chairman of the South Asian Institute at Heidelberg University, Germany.

Other venues

  • M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, February 7 – May 3, 1998
  • Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania
  • Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia
  • Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii
  • Philharmonic Center for the Arts, Naples, Florida
  • Cummer Museum of Art, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Asia Society, British Library, London.


Interaction of Cultures: Indian and Western Painting (1780 1910) is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia, in collaboration with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Currently on view