How Seligman was inspired by India’s Republic Day

How Seligman was inspired by India’s Republic Day

By Antonia Filmer | 14 May, 2016

Lincoln Seligman sought his muse in India for his new exhibition opening on May 17that The Osborne Studio Gallery, Knightsbridge, London. He has painted enthusiastically since his January sojourn in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi. Seligman has been perennially inspired by the character and light of India; beginning his travels in Varanasi, from the Hotel Surya Uday Haveli, as a non—optional vegetarian teetotaller and observer of the seasonal thick fog, he found the scale of the buildings and the lone boatman on the Ganges looming from the early morning mist quite spectacular. He explored new perceptions emanating fromthe grand Hindu and Jain architecture of Khajuraho, Orchha and Gwalior, searching for the ultimate stepwell which he eventually located near Amber Fort in Rajasthan.

Every day Seligman kept an illustrated travel journalon his iPad as an aide—memoire, Seligman and his charming wife Patricia experienced freezing mornings in the Panna Forest, blissful authentic Keralan  Ayurveda treatments in Khajuraho village houses and impeccable South Indian masala dosas in Gwalior. At the Jaipur, Literary Festival the Seligmans met up with the Earl and Countess of Minto and Anabel Loyd, Indiaphile, to launch her book “Vicereine” The Indian Journal of Mary Minto— wife of the 17th Viceroy. The artistic couple enjoyed a dinner for Lit fest luminaries hosted by a friendly Vasundhara Raje, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, at City Palace.

During the India Art Fair Seligman was the only British Artist to be invited exhibit, he showed an Englishman’s personal take on India, paintings on canvas collected over a period of 7 years, he is mesmerised by colours and people, obliquely contrasting Indian tradition with modernity. Boys playing cricket on the beach, 500 smoking incense sticksand a turbaned VIP smoking a Havana cigar, reading the Financial Times in the back of his Rolls Royce. Seligman’squirky sense of humour resulted in a painting of a Maharaja seated with a leopard curled up beside him, uninterested in chasing any prey. This is a homageto the famous Stubbs original of two servants with a cheetah on a leash directing the cat’s attention to a stag, which history tells us the cheetah refused to chase. A personal favourite is lovely painting ofa traditionally dressedaristocratic Indian collector,who Seligman noticed shopping at London’s Frieze Art Fair last October.

As a finale to their visit they were invited by Malvika Singh, editor of Seminar Magazine in Delhi and a social and intellectual powerhouse, as VIP guests courtesy of Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister to the Republic Day Parade, sitting opposite Prime Minister Modi they has a prime view of what has inspired much of the exhibition. Seligman noted India’s rocket and missile might and as a frequent painter of animals his inspiration came from the Camel Brigade and the Alsatian and Labrador soldiers that marched impressively down Rajpath, as a dog lover with his typical cheeky sense of humour Seligman joked he particularly enjoyed the “Scratch and Sniff Squadron”.


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