Vintage Raja Ravi Varma “Saraswati” Oleograph
Vintage Raja Ravi Varma “Saraswati” Oleograph. Similar to the Laxmi oleograph, this Saraswati is also from the Raja Ravi Varma Press, Karla-Lonavla of 1910. It measures with frame 31½x23½ inch and weighs 4 kg. The frames of both the Laxmi and Saraswati Raja Ravi Varma’s oleographs are original.
By 1892 Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings were in great demand with high ranking British officials, Indian royalty, and the wealthy. His flowing signature had become the seal of a highly prized commodity by then.
Raja Ravi Varma realized that his painting was also popular with the common man after seeing serpentine queues of people who came to view the paintings at exhibitions in Madras, Bombay, Trivandrum, Poona, etc.
After the advice of his good friend Madhava Rao, the Dewan of Travancore and later Baroda, Ravi Varma proceeded in his new work of starting a press at Girgaum, now Girgaon.
The Raja Ravi Varma Fine Arts Lithographic Press Ltd (or FAL press) opened at Girgaon, Bombay or Mumbai. Despite the many difficulties and upheavals and a change of ownership, the press churned out millions and millions of copies of oleographs.
The oleographs were all based on Ravi Varma’s artworks. Although the earliest oleographs were of the highest quality when Raja Ravi Varma was in charge of the press, see Raja Ravi Varma’s “Birth of Shakuntala” Oleograph c1894.