Guru Nanak, by the artist Hari Singh (1894-1970) Punjab, circa 1950-60

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Lot 117*
Guru Nanak, by the artist Hari Singh (1894-1970)
Punjab, circa 1950-60

Sold for £ 10,837 (US$ 15,136) inc. premium
Guru Nanak, by the artist Hari Singh (1894-1970)
Punjab, circa 1950-60
watercolour on paper, signed lower left
52 x 40.5 cm.

Footnotes

  • Paintings of Guru Nanak, done in the late Pahari style, continued to be made at the Sikh courts and later, well into the 20th Century. The growing popularity of the calendar art of Raja Ravi Verma, the availability of new materials, such as machine-made paper and watercolours, together with other European influences, were absorbed by the artists of the time such as Hari Singh. Born in 1894, Singh produced remarkable portraits of eminent personalities of the Sikh courts, warriors - and the Sikh Gurus. Our painting is the original iconic image of Guru Nanak which has been reproduced widely over the last half century or more in posters, diaries and calendars and continues to be so even today.

    Here, Guru Nanak sits in a meditative pose on a terrace, against lush foliage of greenery and flowers with a Gurudwara behind him. Depicted as a serene aged figure holding rosary beads in hand, he wears a patch-worked wrap over his golden robe and a high flap cap with a domed top. His slippers, water vessel, lotus flowers and a fly whisk made of peacock feather surround him.

    One of Hari Singh's early patrons was M. S. Randhawa who recommended the purchase of a series of paintings by the artist depicting figures such as Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Maharaja Duleep Singh and Rani Jindan Kaur. However, Hari Singh is most well-known for his religious paintings which appear in several museums across the Punjab and in the most important Gurudwaras, both in India and the world over. A painting depicting Guru Nanak with Bala and Mardana, is in the Nankana Sahib (Pakistan); another depicting Guru Gobind Singh is at the Sri Hazoor Sahib at Nanded. His painting of Guru Hargobind was at the Akal Takhat until 1984 when it was reportedly destroyed during Operation Blue Star. In recognition of his contribution, Hari Singh's own portrait was acquired and hangs in the museum in the Golden Temple complex in Amritsar.
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