An illustration to the Bhagavata Purana: Krishna, Balrama, and Nanda receive Akrura Attributable to Fattu  Guler/Basohli, circa 1765-1770
Lot 176
An illustration to the Bhagavata Purana: Krishna, Balrama, and Nanda receive Akrura Attributable to Fattu
Guler/Basohli, circa 1765-1770
Sold for US$ 74,500 inc. premium
Auction Details
An illustration to the Bhagavata Purana: Krishna, Balrama, and Nanda receive Akrura Attributable to Fattu<BR /> Guler/Basohli, circa 1765-1770 An illustration to the Bhagavata Purana: Krishna, Balrama, and Nanda receive Akrura Attributable to Fattu<BR /> Guler/Basohli, circa 1765-1770 An illustration to the Bhagavata Purana: Krishna, Balrama, and Nanda receive Akrura Attributable to Fattu<BR /> Guler/Basohli, circa 1765-1770
Lot Details
An illustration to the Bhagavata Purana: Krishna, Balrama, and Nanda receive Akrura
Attributable to Fattu
Guler/Basohli, circa 1765-1770

Opaque watercolor and gold on paper; Devanagari text verso; within an enclosed palace setting Akrura bows before Krishna and Balarama, with Nanda in attendance.
Image: 9 1/2 x 13 1/2 in. (24 x 34.5 cm); Folio: 12 x 15 3/4 in. (30.2 x 40.2 cm)

Footnotes

  • In this scene Akrura reports of Kamsa's evil deeds that have terrorized the citizens of Mathura. Krishna gesticulates with his hand as he questions the bowed Akrura, while Balarama and Nanda look on passively. Contrasting the formality of the interior scene, the artist creates visual tension with the angular shift of the palace walls towards the viewer.

    A small group of works, including the present lot, may possibly be attributed to Fattu, son of the master painter Manaku of Guler. The album was initially attributed to the Basohli school, but later scholarship has changed its origin in favor of Guler. As suggested by Goswamy "This series, which treats the Tenth Book (of the Purana) and has the life, deeds and loves of Krishna as its theme, may well be Fattu's work." (Goswamy and Fischer, Pahari Masters, Zurich, 1992, p. 314.)

    While the sensitively drawn portraits of Nanda and Akrura, with distinctive facial features and finely detailed jamas, show the influence of Nainsukh, the robust figures and large eyes of the gods are more closely connected to the hand of Manaku.

    Goswamy further states that the series may have commenced during the lifetime of Manaku, but over time, Fattu gradually came under Nainsukh's influence (ibid.). The illustrations in the group therefore straddle two distinct styles - the vivid clarity of Manaku which gave way to the delicate idealism of Nainsukh, thereby marking a pivotal moment in the transition of styles in this Pahari workshop. For further discussion, see Mason, Intimate Worlds, Philadelphia, 2001, p. 188.

    This series of illustrations from the Bhagavata Purana rank as one of the great achievements of the artists of the Punjab Hills. They form a seminal turning point in determining the development of the artistic schools at Guler and Kangra. According to Archer the vigorous earlier Basohli style is seen in this series as yielding to the charms of the softer Mughal-influenced type of painting from Guler (see Archer, Indian Paintings, vol I London, 1973, pp.49-51).

    This painting was originally part of a set of sixty-three lots consisting of illustrations to the tenth and eleventh books of the Bhagavata Purana and which sold at Sotheby's on 1st February 1960. It was originally catalogued as "Akrura is sent for news of the Pandavas, he travels to Hastinapura, the Court of Duryodhana " and attributed to "Panjab Hills, circa 1790". One of the pages from this series is apparently dated 1769 and is in the San Diego Museum of Art, Goswamy & Smith, Domains of Wonder, 2005, no 93.

    Other examples of paintings from this series can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Cleveland Museum of Art, Bharat Kala Bhavan Varanasi as well as other major private collections worldwide. Also see Topsfield, In the Realm of Gods and Kings, New York, 2004, no.66, p.166; Archer, Indian Paintings from the Punjab Hills, London, 1973, vol.II, pp.36-39; and Kramrisch, Painted Delight, Philadelphia, 1986, nos. 102-104. For another painting from this series see Sotheby's New York, November, 30, 1994, lot 24. Also see Christie's, London, 7 October 2011, lots 394 and 395 and 10 June 2013, lot 227.

    Provenance:
    Private European Collection
    Sotheby's, New York, 19 September 2008, lot 229
    Private English Collection
    Sotheby's, London, 1 February 1960, lot 35 (part)
    The Property of Mrs. F.K. Smith
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