Hugo Vilfred Pedersen (Danish, 1870-1959) Shah Jahan imprisoned at Agra
oil on canvas, signed Hugo v. p. lower right, framed 104 x 166 cm.
Provenance: Private Danish collection, acquired from the artist. Rasmussen Auctions, Denmark. Private UK collection.
The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (reg. 1628-1657) was imprisoned in the fort at Agra, after a coup by his son Aurangzeb, for the last nine years of his life, and died in 1666. Pedersen takes the inherent poignancy of the historical incident - the Emperor being able to overlook his most famous monument and reminder of his dead wife, Mumtaz Mahal - to create an imaginary scene which allows the artist to include the Taj Mahal lit by the moon, an atmospheric feature which apparently appealed to him. For other examples, Christie's, Visions of India, London, 5th June 1996, lots 152 and 153.