India's Fabled City: The Art of Courtly Lucknow
Lucknow was an extraordinarily elegant and sophisticated Indo-Islamic kingdom that flourished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This is the first exhibition devoted to the opulent art and culture of the city, which boasted the wealthiest court and most ostentatious cityscape in northern India.
The refined artistic production of the city's multiethnic residents and artists is represented by Indian courtly paintings, European oil paintings, drawings, prints, a range of decorative art objects and textiles, nineteenth-century photography, and twentieth-century Indian films. The exhibition provides a framework for understanding the history of the region and the nature of India's colonial history and memory.
The exhibition is curated by Stephen Markel and Tushara Bindu Gude, South and Southeast Asian Art at LACMA. India's Fabled City: The Art of Courtly Lucknow is organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It is supported in part by grants from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support was provided by the Southern Asian Art Council.
Image: Mir Kalan Khan, Lovers in a Landscape (Detail), India, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow, c. 1760–70, Opaque watercolor on paper, Page 16 x 11 inches; image 8 1/4 x 6 inches, The David Collection, Copenhagen, 50/1981.
Museum exhibitions involve a considerable (and seemingly endless) number of lists relating to artworks, loans, budgets, contracts, illustrations, gallery texts, condition reports, shipments, couriers, and installation specifications, to name just a few. I thought it would be fun to share a few of the more interesting lists (abbreviated here) that I encountered during my work on India’s Fabled City: The Art of Courtly Lucknow....
If ever a story should start with “Once upon time,” India’s Fabled City is surely the one. It is hard to imagine a more perfect setting than Lucknow, this northern city nestled on the banks of the river Gomti where East met West which glowed for a moment with a luxurious promise of a shared, hybrid beauty...