Vishnu on Garuda, Ravi Varma Press, c. 1910's
Ok, we're right in the middle of Art, Crafts & Collections month, so it's the perfect time to introduce you to a unique couple with an obsession for Indian "God prints" — Indian prints of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Mark Baron and Elise Boisanté became hooked on their first trip to India.
Curry Stand in Culcutta
"...They were everywhere. Although at first we knew nothing about them, little by little, as we noticed differences in style and printing technique, we began to figure out which were newer, older, and older still. For us the oldest were the most beautiful. We desperately wanted to find a beautiful old print of Lakshmi, and of Ganesh, that we could hang in our home. That’s how it began."
• Taxi in Calcutta
Indian God prints date back to the late 1800's, when the printing industry sprang up there and prints were made by inking limestone blocks. Mark and Elise's collection now consists of over 400 prints, most of which are from the 1880's to the 1920's, but they also have some of the "best of the 1930's and early 1940's."
Three quarters of their collection is for sale (to fund their yearly trips back to India), prices range from $30 to $2,000 with most between $100 and $400, and they have a great website and fine catalog (which they'll send only if you're really serious), but you have to come see them in person to buy a print.
I urge you to take a look and check them out in NYC if this peaks your interest. As far as compelling collecting stories go, this is a great one. Enjoy!
Ganesh, Ravi Varma Press, c. 1900
Hanuman, Ravi Varma Press, 1910-1920’s