Photos & text: Raghav Kohli
I became interested in Ravi Varma’s works, some of which are presented here, because of my father, who is a collector and started collecting Ravi Varma oleographs, among other things, in the early 1990s. I grew up with a keen interest in his collection and bought my first oleograoph about six years back.
The interesting thing about Ravi Varma as an artist is that he mass produced copies of his work in the form of oleographs to make art accessible to the common man at a time when it was mostly patronised by people of wealth or royalty. Unfortunately, many of his original prints were lost in a fire in the printing press and have become extremely rare over the last few years. Today, his works are part of the mainstream. They continue to fetch record sums at art auctions abroad, while at the same time, you can find copies of his iconic Laxmi and Saraswati in so many Indian homes.