Indian and Himalayan Art
Thakur Balwant Singh Presides at a Dance PerformanceMade in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, Asia
Attributed to Mohan Lal, India (Rajasthan, Jaipur)
Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver-colored paint on paper
Currently not on view
2004-149-79125th Anniversary Acquisition. Alvin O. Bellak Collection, 2004
LabelThe artist Mohan Lal makes the most of his art form and imagination in this painting. The clocks in the upper corners, with their faces tilted, actually display the same time, and two dancers-almost lost in the carpet-have unique facial features. The room is dressed to impress with its fine chandeliers and enormous Axminster carpet. During the Raj-the era of British domination of India-patrons such as this minor ruler decorated their homes with European possessions in order to display their wealth and fashion. Mohan Lal was trained in the Jaipur court workshop but was probably dismissed from his post by Maharaja Ram Singh II (reigned 1835-80), whose program of modernization (and Westernization) was unprecedented. As a freelance artist, Mohan Lal faced stiff competition from professional photographers who cornered the portrait market from the 1870s onward.