Arts and Culture
The lecture investigates how Indian art has been collected by Western collectors and travellers in the 19th-century in colonial India. Colonial institutions like the Schools of Art, museums and World Fairs developed and produced art for a Western audience. Similar to 19th-century achievements like upcoming photography documenting “The People of India” with an ethnographic approach by order of the British, for example painted miniature clay models were created to visualise the castes, tribes, professions and religious sects of the Rāj.
The above-mentioned institutions established a complex system of artistic education, art training, patronage and art distribution. Both official organs as well as private companies or art dealers contributed to that. The acquisition, display and use of these objects reflect an imperial agenda of stereotype depictions of India common for the time and thus once more sheds light on a facet of the colonialist and imperialistic past which illustrates the reception of India in the West and vice versa.
The paper will focus on the author’s research results on the Jaipur School of Art, the Albert Hall Museum in Jaipur and the Austrian company S. J. Telléry & Co. as important protagonists and show how these interacted not only in shaping syncretistic art and souvenir production, but how they made them available to a European audience travelling India, thus fashioning Western museum collections and ultimately the Western imagination of Indian art.