GARHWAL PAINTING
It was only in the portion of Garhwal known as Tehri that painting underwent a creative revival. With the expulsion of the Gurkhas, Sudarshan Shah (ruled 181659) was restored to the throne but given only this wilder and more northerly area. He was able, however, to make certain economies for with the British on his flank he could now dispense with feudal armies. His capital was a mere village and it was only by careful management that a show of wealth returned. Despite such unpromising conditions, Sudarshan Shah seems none the less to have patronised the arts and indeed it is probably with the period 1816 to 1825 that we must connect the work of a certain artist, Chaitu Sah. Chaitu's style with its sparse settings and airy whiteness has, at first sight, little in common with the first great phase of Garhwal art and it is possible that while adopting certain local idioms such as the familiar leafless tree, it was from later Guler tradition that he obtained his general technique. It is probable that from 1790 onwards Guler painting had been dominated by its Kangra offshoot till, during the critical years, 1806-10, when Sansar Chand was himself harried by the Gurkhas, certain Kangra artists may have congregated at the Guler court. Besides Chaitu, one or two other artists were probably at Tehri at this time and it may well be that they were either former painters who had fled from Garhwal in 1803 or members of their families. It is certainly from Guler and Kangra sources that later painting at Tehri derives its chief mannera further influence occurring in 1829 when the Kangra ruler, Raja Anirodh Chand, fled for safety to the court. With him came his two sisters, part of his father's great collection of pictures and almost certainly some Kangra painters. The two princesses were wedded to Sudarshan Shah, a number of pictures were included in the dowry and a group of artists were provided with employment. As a consequence, from 1830 until the third quarter of the nineteenth century, there flourished in Tehri a school of late Kangra painting. Its style had none of the brooding glamour of the early Garhwal school but if the Glory of Spring, reproduced by Mr. N. C. Mehta, is typical of its productions, it had still a fresh poetic delicacy and a clear idyllic charm. It is with such pictures, fugitive in their prettiness, that the curtain falls.
Garhwal painting has never had the same prestige as that of Kangra. Its fame was local. Its style had few, if any, offshoots. Even in terms of time, its exquisite flowering was limited to a bare thirty years and was overlaid a little later by pictures more typical of Kangra than of Garhwal itself. Yet in sheer poetic intensity its masterpieces were never surpassed. Products of Indian feudalism, before the Rajput order foundered, they gave enchanted expression to the common culture of the Punjab Hillsreflecting not merely the local interests of a minor court, but some of the keenest perceptions of the Indian mind. With its cultivation of ideal beauty, its fusion of religion and romance, its blending of poetry and passion, Garhwal painting rivals the art of Kangra as the supreme embodiment in painting of Indian attitudes to love.

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