FINAL WORD IN PICTORIAL EXCELLENCE OF CHUGHTAI ART; THE FINISHED MASTERPIECES OF ART THAT KEEPS HIM ALIVE.
A lot of people had seen Chughtai art in private sittings, as well as many exhibitions shows in Pakistan and abroad. A lot of images used to appear in magazines and newspapers. But after his death the link was cut off. We restored that link with the inauguration of Chughtai Museum on 17th January, 1976. Followed by various shows and invitations of World experts to Chughtai Museum. A separate talk on this issue is overdue.
Suffice that the water colour masterpieces are the back bone of Chughtai art. No one has access to originals, as well as sizes of the work. That is why most mistakes are made. Let us first examine a selection of the Master pieces. From then on we will discuss the practical issues involved in this analysis. Enjoy here! Anyone can enjoy with us too!
M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI STUDY OF DIFFERENT HUMAN FACES; ACCORDING TO PAUL DRURY HIS MIND STORED BANK OF FACES, FROM WHERE HE COULD DRAW A FACE AT WILL FOR HIS WORK. SERIES SEVEN IN EXPLORATION OF CHUGHTAI ART, KNOWLEDGE.
A large part of Chughtai’s works is related to study of faces. He has dealt with so many numbers of faces, that one can say his computer type analysis left nothing out. And these are not faces he saw. These are faces he imagined with his creative insight. It is pure refreshment of aesthetic senses to look at these faces. Faces are of all kind, but he rejoiced most in female faces. Given different background of character, he enriched the faces with his own version of clothes and costumes. The characters are from all kinds of races. The region is Asia in its fullest sense. Hindu faces, Muslim faces, Punjabi faces, Sindhi faces, Pathan faces, Bengali faces , and even Buddhist faces. A student can learn a lot from his study of faces. An artist can seek inspiration from them. We exhibit them now and then. Our visitors are tuned to them. As time passes more and more people know about them. Enjoy our heritage! Enjoy our culture.!
ART REVIEWS ON CHUGHTAI ART STARTED IN 1920; “FOLIO” AND “RAVI” FIRST TO PRINT WRITINGS ON MARC. FIRST PAINTING APPEARED IN “MODERN REVIEW” 1917. URDU MAGAZINES LAHORE CARRIED OWN WRITE-UP THEN.
James Cousin wrote an article on M.A. Rahman Chughtai entitled “The Indian Behzad”, in the famous English magazine Studio from London. Of course, there are so many write ups. Chughtai became nationally famous after 1917, and internationally famous after 1924, with the famous exhibition at Wembley. Reviews on Chughtai prevail all the time. The mood of the reviews differs with source of those writing in same. In any case enjoy same. A rare article not quoted before in literature.
THE ORIGIN OF ALL CHUGHTAI WORKS IS IN THIS HOUSE, ALL ART WORKS PRESERVED FOR ADDITIONAL STUDY. A STUDY OF ODDS AND ENDS REVEAL INTRICACIES OF ART: PAPER, LINE AND COLOUR IMPORTANT BUT FEELINGS MOST.
Western scholarship is great. A work is studied. An erased work is studied. A work drawn on another work is studied. The morons of our world have no study of anything, except grow imbecile on their flatulence. Emperor Jahangeer once made a statement. He said that he is an expert in looking at pictures. He can tell who painted what and what not? Who painted the eyes, who painted the lips? And so on. This is observation. When you have not even seen 10 originals in your life time, how can you make a statement about works?
A work by Leonardo da Vinci got sold for 45 million dollars. Scholars are discussing the work., for they have studied the intricacies. Imagine red flags being drawn with world experts on Leonardo da Vinci. Nobody seems to be winning. Without such a study, no one can claim authenticity of a work. M.A. Rahman Chughtai wrote about a number of Fake Mughal works made in Bombay, and he had seen the forgers themselves. But no one willing to accept that. I have seen more works of Chughtai than anybody alive. I can judge things. I am after all the greatest living expert of Chughtai art. No one can challenge me on this account. When students used to visit Chughtai artist, instead of a mere signature, he would draw a figure for them. Many students of past must be carrying those memories. Then due to customs restrictions, some works were made in Delhi itself. This was to evade restrictions on movements. And then prints were made of those works. Legacy of Delhi’s first gallery Dhoomi Mal Dharam Dass. Many paintings carry seal of Indian customs on their back. This was to ensure coming back of works.
The Indian Ministry of Culture hosted many experts. But even they get fooled at times. I will quote examples. We are just starting this topic. A lot more is coming. It is time to waken up. It is time to see things. It is time to silent meaningless innuendoes. When you do not know, learn, or Shut up!
P.S.Proof from an ex-museum curator in USA.
—– Original Message —–From: <email@example.com>To: artguyone <firstname.lastname@example.org>Sent: 10/28/2020 4:13:04 PM Subject:Re: Proposal Very sweet will write tomorrow. There were two partners namely DhoomiMal and Dharam Dass and had a very old book store in Delhi and were also publishers. First gallery in Delhi I think. I have been to their shop. The gallery of first partner is still there. The second one separated after death. Name is of two owners. Got it Gary
On 28 Oct 2020 11:16 PM, artguyone <email@example.com> wrote: Arif, Thanks for this great offer, but, I am a retired, ex-museum curator, living on pension—no longer active in art world. my inquiries were based on having many different artists’ pieces in storage and now getting them out; some to sell and favorites to keep awhile longer. I plan to keep 2-3 of those you’ve seen and then, others, Unidentified, probably offer on eBay. I plan NOW, to try to ID those. Once again, I’ll ask : What is the English translation for “Dhoomi Mal Dharam Das”? Due to Your work for me, I can now tell about your Father with much more accuracy. If I get questions about purchase or related, I would, of course, be happy to refer to you and the Museum. Thanks and Best Wishes, Gary
FIRST SABOTAGE BY PAKISTANI LOBBY OF AN EXHIBITION FOR GERMANY, THE FOMENTING DOUBTS OVER YEARS OF EFFORT OF CHUGHTAI MUSEUM.
The Germans were always interested in Chughtai. It started with meeting of Dr Heinrich Luebke, President of Germany, with the artist M.A. Rahman Chughtai, at the Badshahi mosque Lahore. President Luebke was presented two paintings by the artist,. and the President sent his Finance Minister Walter Scheel to the house of the artist, with a gold coin, in recognition of his artistic merit. On 17th January, 1975, on the death of the artist, the then President of West Germany, Walter Scheel, sent condolences on the death of the artist. A request for a State exhibition was sent to the President. Dr Klaus Terfloth, the German Ambassador, took the challenge of arranging such a show. First an exhibition was held at the German Embassy, with an address by the artist’s son on the occasion. It was a remarkable gathering attended mostly by international crowd.
A couple of Pakistanis infiltrated the show, and a ready to be bought journalist, wrote against the show in a newspaper. Dr Terfloth was badly shaken, and I tried to explain things to him. He lamented, “Why cannot you Pakistani be on the same page at least on the side of culture?” I was hosted at the German Ambassador’s house, but the damage was done. The Show in Bonn did not pick up pace. Although not given up, the Ministry was not in a position to finance the show, and we were not in a position to finance it ourselves. All suggestions failed. Some shameless Pakistanis were happy with the result. It was all in the interest of Pakistan, but these lobbies were anti-Pakistan itself. We stand alone holding steady the Ideology of Pakistan. No one helps us. We are grateful to Allah. We know the laws of Allah are in perpetual motion.
THE FIRST STUDENT AFTER THE DEATH OF M.A. RAHMAN CHUGHTAI, MS MARCELLA BEDFORD NESOM SIRHINDI AND 1978 HAPPENINGS
THE BARRIERS OF CROSS CULTURAL DIVERSIFICATION
We take many issues very seriously, and the death of M.A. Rahman Chughtai reminded us of the immense responsibility thrusted on our shoulders. Just a few days after the death of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, we printed our first handout. In it we assured the world not only of preserving, promoting and researching the Art of M.A. Rahman Chughtai, but also providing access of the Art to students and scholars from all over the world. Ms Marcella Bedford had applied to the Pak American Association for funding for her proposed research on Textiles and was working on that. I do not know who or how, but it was suggested to her that she changes her topic for research on M.A. Rahman Chughtai and his Art. The papers came in and they are in our archives. The first letter from her was on 12th October, 1976. Then Marcella Bedford came by aeroplane to the Lahore Airport and I was there to receive her. I was not able to see her alight from the plane but she was in the lounge fine. I brought her in my car to the premises of the museum and it was nearing our 1978 show of 17th January, in which Ms Tamara Talbot Rice from the United Kingdom was our Chief Guest. We provided her accommodation for stay at the museum itself. Everything was exciting.
All details are there in the museum, for we are very exact about our records. We did everything possible to provide to her, all her desired requirements, like books, magazines, newspapers, catalogues, images and what not? And of course interviews in a free atmosphere. She carried a professional camera and we would allow her to photograph her requirements but with a small tab in plastic of CMT, that is CHUGHTAI MUSEUM TRUST. If we look at the bibliography etc attached to her thesis, we will find reoccurred the tab of CMT tab everywhere.
People change. People waver. A diligent Marcella diversified and we pointed it out to her in the best of spirits. Having had access to so many things about Chughtai, she felt that she could proclaim herself as the end of it all. We pointed out that her understanding of Chughtai was based on cross cultural barriers. Many of her assertions were outright wrong and there was nothing wrong about telling her that. But ideas were okay when a person takes credit for that, but facts could not be tinkered in any way. For example somebody had translated a paragraph absolutely wrong for her, and based on that, she was making claims, which had no reality in fact. We all learn more with time and she was jumping in some ways about her conclusions about the artist. Obviously we knew more about Chughtai than her, for not were we Chughtai’s family, we had lived with the artist all our lives and we knew the spirit and Ideology of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. She was unwilling to accept that, so without any malice, our ways drifted apart. We have great regards for her efforts but if the efforts are doing injustice to the artist himself, it was our right to point it out.
A banker from Asian Development Bank brought her as help one day to the museum and I told him she had no concept of her assertion. Gladly he was a reasonable man, went back and came alone the next day. No harm done. So when auction houses start quoting her to me as well as people, who never had access to me, I point it out. We wish Marcella well but it is our foremost right to present facts as well as the interpretations of them. Ms Marcella Bedford came here after a quest for a thesis on Textiles. In Rawalpindi she saw a copy of Amal e Chughtai and felt enamoured with Chughtai Art. Thanks to Marcella for that. She was our first serious student on the Art of M.A. Rahman Chughtai at PHD level. We were excited then, we are excited even today. But the white man’s burden is enormous. Knowledge teaches you humility to know more, not arrogance in an way. We taught Marcella things about Chughtai Art, in no way, she ever taught us! These are points to remember. We wish her best of luck in life! There is no malice within us. A scholarly role is to present all versions, at least two opposing ones, for fairness in judgement. At times the dear lady looked so bewildered that she even presented an artist in her thesis WHO CLAIMED THAT CHUGHTAI WAS NEVER THE ARTIST AND HE WAS THE ACTUAL PAINTER WHO DID WORKS FOR THE ARTIST WHO LATER USED TO SIGN THE WORKS IN HIS OWN NAME. We could have died laughing at the idea or we would have lynched that man to a tree for ridiculous statements, but she took even that man seriously, knowing even by statistics it was an impossible statement. Yes we have so much more of her in our records. We will tell more. But one thing is sure. We welcomed her then, we welcome her now. We have nothing against her. We request her to analyze her statements so that nothing is left on record which will prove to be a childish assessment for the future. God be with her all the time!
ART EXPLORATIONS OF CHUGHTAI ART SERIES FIVE; ETCHINGS AND AQUATINTS AND ENGRAVED PLATES; WESTERN MEDIA UNDER PERFECTION EASTERN HANDS.
It was preferable to jump to coloured things, but the engraved scene was important enough to take our hands on it. The complete tale is on our blog and entitled EAST MET WEST and it can not only be read there, but also downloaded by anyone interested in same. Sir Frank Short said the final word in 1936. You are learning a Western technique, do not lose your Eastern touch anytime. Paul Drury said other things. Your head is a bank of faces, from where you can draw a face at will by drawing a cheque on it. Western artists loved him even in the 1920s and 1930s. Our modern artists vomit an indigestible Chughtai. For them this mixture of East and West is dangerous for their existence. Chughtai erased this opposition within his own lifetime.
Exhibition on etchings have been held many times. Main exhibition shows were in Japan, American Centre Lahore and Grosvenor Gallery London. Charles Moore is happy to consult with us at times. Thanks Charles! You are fun.
AN EXPLORATION OF CHUGHTAI ART SERIES FOUR: A RARE GENRE WHICH ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI INNOVATED, BASED ON THE GRAND TRADITIONS OF PAST MUSLIM MASTERS; MOSTLY FINISHED WITH THE TIP OF BRUSH LIKE SIYAH QALAM.
An art genre which stops the breath of the on looker right in the throat, as the work of exceptional merit. These were the works created to sell at the fraction of the price of the water colours and they sold well. Scattered all over the world, few survive. In the hands of proud owners now dead, inherited by next generations.These are from the archives of Chughtai Museum. This genre on public demand had at times multiple copies. But for that the drawing paper is off white with age and that is the first thing to check. And is always in the same size. Tracings of brush outlines were kept by the artist and he made his revenue by selling these works. They come for sale all the time but rarely the actual genuine ones. The usual ones we see are the fakes the Delhi fake Masters try to duplicate but the paper, size as well as outline is all wrong. Here even slight change reveals the truth. We are coming towards the Karachi as well as Delhi fake market soon. The Indians know no shame. Stealing images from our website to even sell as prints, which originals they do not own. Making money without remorse is the Indian trade mark of the times. The exceptional honest galleries like DAG are rare. Full credit to Ashish Anand CEO DAG for keeping his gallery upright in these times. Well done Ashish Anand!
ART EXPLORATION OF CHUGHTAI ART SERIES THREE: INTRODUCING PENCIL SKETCHES OF ABDUR RAHMAN CHUGHTAI; NOT ONE PERSON IN THE WORLD WHO CAN MAKE THEM, FREE DRAWING WITH LIVING EXPRESSIONS, THE ESSENTIAL SKELETON OF ALL WATER COLOUR WORKS.
We have jumped to exploration of actual art of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. From the last 46 years I have invited people to look at Chughtai art in original. All the local writers or critics lacked the acumen to heed to my offer. The real professionals long dead and gone who knew all this about art. But we held shows every year. We showed everything in our collection to people and our visitors are well trained in recognition of Chughtai art. We even held a show on Pencil Sketches. Our motto unless you see originals, you get nowhere.
A pencil sketch is a skeleton on which the body of the work is built piece by piece. Even the fake Masters give up here. They cannot draw these lines and use light offset machine prints on drawing paper to fill colours. Photo colours actually, not even a remote Wash method attempt. If you hold a fake in your hand, you will notice many things. We will come to that. But mostly no outline is there at all. But in the end the work either LIVES or is dead flat with no life. By the end of this series, we will silence the unknown dissent forever. See some of the pencil sketches, and observe the eyes and the lips. Living persons. Exceptional Master. Two-bit analysts do not have the skills to look at work of Masters, nor the knowledge. And malice runs through their blood.
M.A. Rahman Chughtai is an exceptional gift to Planet Earth by the Grace of Allah. Love and admire him. Calumny is a sin for a person who is not there to defend himself!
BONHAMS, DR CHRISTA PAULA AND RETURN TO COMMON SENSE – ARROGANCE RUBBED TO THE GROUND WITHOUT REAL KNOWLEDGE – ART EXPLORATION AT AUCTION HOUSES, RESEARCH CONFIRMATION.
The knowledge of Auction houses is meager, when their arrogance comes in. Real homage is to be paid to Western civilization, trying to get to the bottom of things. That is the objective solution. The host of Indians floating in auction houses really lack knowledge, but are too proud to even ask others. Not so true for a Bavarian German, who became an adviser to Bonhams, London. I received a letter from her requesting my cooperation in authentication. I did so, and i was acknowledged in a Bonhams catalogue itself. Christa is still a friend, although she is no longer associated with Bonhams. She had wisdom and common sense. She saw aesthetics and not feel threatened by lack of knowledge about a subject. In 2009, she wrote to me:
“Dear Sir, My name is Christa Paula, I am an art historian (PhD SOAS) and have only recently begun looking at the work of Abdur Rehman Chughtai. I hope this e-mail finds you well.
I have come across a particular beautiful work attributed to the artist – gorgeous line work, deep washes and luminous colours (I hope you can open the image) and have been pondering the iconography of the painting.
The seated beauty delicately holds a flower and a book (of poetry?) whilst two male figures loom in the background. One assumes that the painting relates to a particular personage or narrative. Can you help?
I also plan to visit Lahore in the future and very much hope to gain access to your collection and expand my meagre knowledge of this important artist.
With kind regards
What more can be said? Christa used her art instincts well. Her work is well and remarkable. A journey from 1976 to 2009, required Bavarian German expertise. I have jumped the happenings of 1990s, which require more detail. Will come to that soon. Enjoy the exposition series on Auction houses!
Thanks due to Edward Wilkinson too, for seeking my advice from Bonhams in Los Angeles in 2013.
Edward WilkinsonConsultant – Southeast Asian, Indian and Himalayan ArtBonhams