Porcelain paintings were very expensive and only the nobility in Europe could afford it, so much so that porcelain came to be called White Gold. Porcelain objects were first brought to Europe by Marco Polo from China. They were highly prized and were considered very precious especially since nothing like this existed in Europe.
Today several old schools such as Sevres and Limoges in France, Meissen in Germany, Herond in Hungary, Royal Copenhagen in Denmarkand Vista Alegre in Portugal continue to produce hand painted pieces for their customers worldwide. The Capital’s tryst with Porcelain paintings comes through an art exhibition White Gold – The Romance of Porcelain at the India Habitat Centre from February 10 – 12.
The exhibition aims to showcase both the European and American styles of painting as well as share some modern directions this art form has taken. In Europe, USA and Latin America porcelain painting is a vibrant and alive art with many painters and followers. It is still a relatively unknown art form in Delhi. Keeping this in mind, the three porcelain painters have decided to come together to exhibit in this group show.
Rita Gharekhan is an international award winning porcelain artist. She is a certified artist and teacher of the International Porcelain Artists and Teachers, Inc. based in USA. She studied the classical Nyon style of porcelain painting in Switzerland. In the US, she learnt the naturalistic style and combined these and other techniques such as the Indian miniature style to create a variety of designs and effects on porcelain.
These include portraits, still life, landscapes apart from flowers and modernistic motifs. She has exhibited in several cities in the US as well as at the United Nations in New York. She has also had solo exhibitions in New York and in Delhi at the India International Centre as well as Lalit Kala Akademi.
Manju Sinha has held several solo exhibitions in London, New York, Mumbai and New Delhi. Her exquisite pieces of this amazing art include vases, lamps, wall murals etc. Sinha draws her inspiration from nature and her work displays wonderful flora, fauna and landscapes from around the world. She also brings a touch of her Indian heritage with depictions of Buddha, Krishna and Ganesha in her work.
She has also recently started working with glass Mosaics to expand her repertoire. “My canvas is white porcelain of various sizes and shapes in form of vases, wall plates, lamps, bowls, trays and even the humblest, mug study the shape of your canvas before deciding on the composition. Form, motive, colour must be in complete harmony,” she said.
Madhu Bhalla Ahluwalia started learning Porcelain painting in 1983 in Copenhagen, Denmark. She continued her studies in the early 1990’s in Lisbon, Portugal. After a gap, wherein she was working in the corporate sector, she restarted porcelain painting in New Delhi, India in 2009. Many of her pieces have come about as a result of blending various techniques in unusual ways. She paints in both the European and American styles.
Madhu has travelled extensively all over the world and lived in Europe, USA, South Asia and China. She tries to find designs and ideas from all over the world to incorporate in her porcelain painting, it also provides the inspiration for her experimentation. She had her first solo exhibition at the India International Centre in June-July 2013, sponsored by the IIC.