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Raja Ravi Varma Oleographs - Antique prints for collection

embelished ravi varma oleograph of shiv parivar

The name Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) is a milestone in the story of Indian art. He was trained in the western style of painting with oil paints on canvas by Dutch artist Theodore Jensen, and became the most important portrait painter of his times. Related to the Maharaja of Travancore, he was supported in his art education and then further commissions by the Maharaja and also the British. Ravi Varma was commissioned by the royalty of his times to produce their oil on canvas family portraits of the finest quality, a quality and style not seen before him - of note are the works done by him for the Maharaja of Baroda.

Raja Ravi Verma photograph

Probably of even greater societal importance was his role in developing the modern image of Hindu gods and goddesses. His depiction and humanization of dieties and their stories left an indelible mark on Indian society, and continue to influence how we imagine our gods to this date. His rare paintings however, meant for the royalty of the times, were never accessible to the general masses. So how, one may ask, did he influence Indian society in such a way?

In the late 19th century (1894), Raja Ravi Verma, imported German lithographic printing machines and setup the Ravi Varma Press in Ghatkopar, Mumbai and in 1899 shifted to Lonavala. The press produced prints of Ravi Varma paintings for mass circulation, popularly referred to today as Ravi Varma Oleogrpahs. Due to financial losses, the press was sold in 1901 to Fritz Schleicher (German), who continued to print from this press till long after Raja Ravi Varma's death in 1906. While in the beginning only Raja Ravi Varma paintings were being reproduced by the press, later the german added more works by other artists to be produced by the press.

It is widely believed that those prints (or oleograph) which have a signature "Ravi Varma" are oleographs of his paintings, while those without a signature are likely oleographs of paintings by other artists. However, some prints which do not carry his printed signature, have also been found to be oleographs of some of his unsigned paintings.

The prints produced by the Ravi Varma Press are widely referred to as Oleographs as the printing quality had an oil painting like finish to them - partly due to the printing technique (chemolithographic technique) and also partly due to the high amount of varnish which was applied to the oleograph as part of the post-printing finishing process.

Ravi Varma Oleographs were widely distributed and survived in families, passed down through generations. Over time, many got destroyed, however the ones which have now survived are highly collectible and become harder and harder to find in recent times due to being collected by a large community of collectors.

The oleographs were made in several different sizes, the larger sizes (21x28 in) are more difficult to find and therefore also more expensive. A lot of times the oleographs were also embellished with either Zari and/or Textiles. the The purist collectors believe in collecting the un-embellished Ravi Varma Oleographs, however many people also find the embellished oleographs more decorative and appealing, its a personal choice.

Below are some of the oleographs in our collection (Click on images to view larger images). If you are interested in any of the oleographs, then please contact us on whatsapp - Click here

 

Shesha Narayana Oleograph embelished with zari, 20x14in

Shesha Narayana Oleograph embellished with zari, 20x14in

Ram pattabhishek Oleograph embelished with zari, 20x14in

Ram pattabhishek Oleograph embellished with zari, 20x14in

Adi Shankaracharya Oleograph, 20x14in

Adi Shankaracharya Oleograph, 20x14in

Radha Krishna or Manini Radha Oleograph embellished with zari, 22x28in

Radha Krishna or Manini Radha Oleograph embellished with zari, 22x28in

Lakshmi Oleograph embellished with zari, 22x28in

Lakshmi Oleograph embellished with zari, 22x28in

Shiv parivar Oleograph embellished with textile & zari, 22x28in

Shiv parivar Oleograph embellished with textile & zari, 22x28in

Saraswati Oleograph embellished with zari, 22x28in

Saraswati Oleograph embellished with zari, 22x28in

Chitralekha oleograph

Chitralekha oleograph

 

Vishnu Garud Vahan Oleograph embellished with textile & Zari, 22x28in

Vishnu Garud Vahan Oleograph embellished with textile & Zari, 22x28in

Dhruv Narayan Oleograph embellished with textile, 20x14in

Dhruv Narayan Oleograph embellished with textile, 20x14in

Ganpati with Siddi Riddhi Oleograph embellished with Zari, 22x28in

Ganpati with Siddi Riddhi Oleograph embellished with Zari, 22x28in

Krishna Radha Rukmani Oleograph embellished with textile & zari, 20x14in

Krishna Radha Rukmani Oleograph embellished with textile & zari, 20x14in

Lakshmi Oleograph embellished with textile & zari, 20x14in

Lakshmi Oleograph embellished with textile & zari, 20x14in

Subramanya with Valli and Devayani Oleograph embellished with textile & zari, 20x14in

Subramanya with Valli and Devayani Oleograph embellished with textile & zari, 20x14in

Vishnu Garud Vahan Oleograph embellished with textile & zari, 20x14in

Vishnu Garud Vahan Oleograph embellished with textile & zari, 20x14in

saraswati oleograph by raja ravi varma

Saraswati Oleograph embellished with zari, 22x28in

 

 

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