Friday, November 24, 2017

Raja Ravi Varma FRAUD, The artist never created an edition of lithographs

NOTE: Footnotes enclosed as: [FN ]


  • Title: Sesha Sayi, Creator: Raja Ravi Varma, Physical Dimensions: 25x35 cms, Provenance: From the collection of Hemamalini and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Type: Lithograph, Rights: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru, Medium: Lithograph, Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02, About the Artist: Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was an Indian artist hailing from Kilimanoor in the present state of Kerala. In a brief lifespan, Varma’s output was prolific and richly textured. His realistically-detailed portrayals of contemporary figures and interpretations of religious and mythological figures enlightened and fascinated an international audience as much as they did his countrymen. He was visionary in other ways as well: he made art more accessible, by printing his paintings in lithographs and his technique and approaches built a bridge of mutual respect and understanding between India and the West.
https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/sesha-sayi/jQFW8gaoWC_cSg
NON-DISCLOSED REPRODUCTION - NOT A LITHOGRAPH
[underline mine]

On page 670 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, fraud is defined as: “a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment.”

Raja Ravi Varma never created a  lithograph in his life. 


Raja Ravi Varma
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raja_Ravi_Varma#/media/File:Ravivarma1.png
RAJA RAVI VARMA, PAINTER

Yet, on the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation website, the Chairperson Bharani Thirunal Rukmini Bayi Thampuran, the Managing Trustee & CEO Gitanjali Maini, Honorary Secretary Ganesh V Shivaswamy and Trustee Jay Varma would have the public believe and act on the believe that there is: "an exhibition showcasing the most comprehensive display of Lithographs from the Ravi Varma Press of the paintings by the artist. On display were 131 rare and exquisite lithographs printed between 1894 and 1930."[FN 1]

Raja Ravi Varma died in 1906. 

Between Raja Ravi Varma's death in 1906 and 1930, some 24 years or so the dead Raja Ravi Varma was unable to create any lithographs, much less approve their printing. 

The dead don't lithograph.

Lithographs are original works of visual art "wholly executed by hand by the artist and excluding any photomechanical and mechanical process."[FN 2] Original works of visual art such as lithographs  would never be trivialized as reproduction of a painting even if it was a Raja Ravi Varma painting.

What really happened is the artist Raja Ravi Varma [d 1906] had chromist-made reproductions reproduced from his paintings to sell to the public. Raja Ravi Varma was attempting to cash in on the popularity of his paintings by selling reproductions of them.
  • NOTE: A chromist is an individual who copies the work of another.

In other words, Raja Ravi Varma never created original works of visual art i.e., lithographs, dead or alive. The following documents that irrefutable fact.



  • Title: Damayanti, Creator: Raja Ravi VarmaLocation Created: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Lavelle Road, Bengaluru, Provenance: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Type: LithographContributor: Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Rights: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru, Medium: LithographManufacturer: The Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press, Bombay, Dimensions: 50x71 cms, Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02, Collection: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Bibliographic References: Mahabharata, Vana-Parva, Chapters 52 to 79, Accession No. : RRV013
  • https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/damayanti/qgF7lBisIW8ujA
  • NON-DISCLOSED REPRODUCTION  - NOT A LITHOGRAPH
[underline mine]

Raja Ravi Varma was a painter. Paintings reproduced result in reproductions, not lithographs.

The above so-called "lithograph," titled Damayanti, is additionally described as: "Varma painted a series of pictures of the romance here, one less happy, of Damayanti pining for Nala."[FN 3]


Raja Ravi Varma paintings reproduced result in reproductions, not lithographs.

REPRODUCE HIS WORKS
This reproduction of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings is confirmed in the Gaudiya Touchstone's published January 2013 [Issue 4] "The Nineteen Century Oil Painter Raja Ravi Varma" article by Dominque Amendola, where the author wrote: "Sire Madhave Rao, the Diwan of Travancore of that time and later the administrator of Baroda State was quick to see the possibilities of Ravi Varma’s popularity. He suggested they reproduce his works through the technique of Oleography. -  These chromolithographs played a major role in the development of contemporary Indian art and the technique of reproduction of paintings”[FN 4]

WHAT IS CHROMOLITHOGRAPHY?
Chromolithography "became the most successful of several methods of colour printing developed by the 19th century; - The initial technique involved the use of multiple lithographic stones, one for each colour, and was still extremely expensive when done for the best quality results. Depending on the number of colours present, a chromolithograph could take months to produce, by very skilled workers. However much cheaper prints could be produced by simplifying both the number of colours used, and the refinement of the detail in the image. Cheaper images, like advertisements, relied heavily on an initial black print (not always a lithograph), on which colours were then overprinted. To make an expensive reproduction print as what was once referred to as a “’chromo’”, a lithographer, with a finished painting in front of him, gradually created and corrected the many stones using proofs to look as much as possible like the painting in front of him, sometimes using dozens of layers."[FN 5]

WHAT IS OLEOGRAPHY?
Oleography[FN 6] meant that Raja Ravi Varma's paintings were reproduced on cloth or canvas with textured added to imitate a painting.



The archival material already collected includes a range of ancient machinery used for printing-the varnishing and the grinding machine and also more than 200 original litho stones with the impression of the works of Ravi Varma.
http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/Preserving+a+legacy/1/8680.html
200 LITHO STONES WITH WORKS OF RAVI VARMA

So, who were those "very skilled workers" a.k.a. chromists [someone who copies another's work] who reproduced with their hands, fingers, and fingersprints on limestone blocks Raja Ravi Varma's paintings for printing their chromist-made reproductions, not lithographs?

CHROMIST FRITZ SCHLEICHER
This is plausibly answered in The Indian Portrait - 3: A Historical Journey of Graphic Prints up to... by Anil Relia, where on page 121 the author wrote: "Raja Ravi Varma imported German machines and even engaged German technicians for printing work, most important among them being Fritz Schleicher. The quality of work now available in his press was at par to the ones available outside India especially in the European countries." [FN 7]  Anil Relia goes on to write that Raja Ravi Varma and his Press was not a commercial success so in "1904-1905 he sold the press to Schleicher along with copyright for 89 of his works."[FN 8]



Title: Padmini or The Lotus Nymph, Creator: Raja Ravi Varma, Location Created: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Lavelle Road, Bengaluru, Provenance: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Type: Lithograph, Contributor: Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Rights: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru, Medium: Lithograph, Manufacturer: The Ravi Varma Press Malavi, Dimensions: 35x50 cms, Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02, Collection: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Accession No. : RRV104
https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/padmini-or-the-lotus-nymph/xwHIqxPpCZfWdA
NON-DISCLOSED REPRODUCTION - NOT A LITHOGRAPH

Raja Ravi Varma was a painter. Paintings reproduced result in reproductions, not lithographs.

MASS PRODUCED HIS PAINTINGS
In the Caravan Magazine published October 1, 2010 "The Enduring Myth of Ravi Varma" by Niharika Dinkar, the author wrote: “And so the myth of Ravi Varma persisted, not in the least because of his pioneering efforts in setting up a modern press to mass-produce his paintings—chromolithographs of gods and goddesses that persist in the ubiquitous calendar art of today.” [FN 9]


Raja Ravi Varma paintings "mass-produced" result in "mass-produced" reproductions, not lithographs. The term "chromolithographs" is being used as an euphemism for nothing more than reproduction/posters.

  • Title: Shakuntala Patrlekhana, Creator: Raja Ravi Varma, Location Created: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Lavelle Road, Bengaluru, Provenance: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Type: Lithograph, Contributor: Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Rights: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru, Medium: Lithograph, Manufacturer: The Ravi Varma Press Malavi, Dimensions: 50x71 cms, Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02, Collection: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Accession No. : RRV058
  • https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/shakuntala-patrlekhana/QAHN6uYWcyHTig
  • NON-DISCLOSED REPRODUCTION - NOT A LITHOGRAPH

Raja Ravi Varma was a painter. Paintings reproduced result in reproductions, not lithographs.

RE-PRINTING HIS ART WORK
On the ravivarma.org website,  under the subtitle: “Chromolithographs by Raja Ravi Varma," it states:  "Raja Ravi Varma started a printing press at Mumbai in 1894 for re-printing his art work using chromolithographic techniques. Images are painted to a stone plate with grease based crayon and chemicals and transferred to paper layer by layer. Each color is separately drawn onto a new stone and applied to images. These prints were mainly of Hindu Gods and Goddesses from Mahabharata and Ramayana.”[FN 10]


Raja Ravi Varma paintings "re-print[ed] using chromolithographic techniques" result in "re-print[ed]" reproductions, not lithographs. Therefore, the term "re-printing his art work using chromolithographic techniques" is being used as an euphemism for nothing more than reproduction/posters.

  • Title: Saraswati Version 1, Creator: Raja Ravi Varma, Location Created: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Lavelle Road, Bengaluru, Provenance: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Type: Lithograph, Contributor: Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Rights: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru, Medium: Lithograph, Manufacturer: The Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press, Bombay, Dimensions: 50x71 cms, Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02, Collection: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Bibliographic References: S. KI. Ramachandra Rao Pratime Kosha vol. 6 pg. 260,Accession No. : RRV046
  • https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/saraswati-version-1/3gF0Sje7YFIMAQ
  • NON-DISCLOSED REPRODUCTION - NOT A LITHOGRAPH

Raja Ravi Varma was a painter. Paintings reproduced result in reproductions, not lithographs.

ARTISTS REPRODUCED THEIR WORK
In Deepanjan Pal's The Painter, the author wrote: "They were Ravi Varma creations and when they were painted, they caused something of a stir because these goddesses, despite their four hands, seemed startlingly human; as though the moment the viewer turned, they would blink and their smiles would widen. The moment they emerged out of the printing press Ravi Varma set up in 1892, however, and 'Lakshmi' and 'Saraswati' could be hung in any household that could afford a lithograph, they stopped being Ravi Varmi paintings and instead, became something that belonged to and was shared by the people of the subcontinent."[FN 11]


Left: Paintings of Sarasvati Depiction of Hindu Gods and Goddesses by Raja Ravi Varma
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saraswati_by_Raja_Ravi_Varma.jpg
PAINTING BY RAJA RAVI VARMA

Right: Lithograph or Oleograph prints by Raja Ravi Varma
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Saraswati_by_Raja_Ravi_Varma.jpg
NON-DISCLOSED REPRODUCTION - NOT A LITHOGRAPH


The moment the chromist-made reproductions of Raja Ravi Varma paintings "emerged out of the printing press" they were reproductions, not lithographs, much less "paintings." On the right above the chromist-made reproduction, done by the hands, fingers and fingerprints of the chromist, is a flat, washout and altered imitation of the rich color and detail of Raja Ravi Varma's original painting on the left titled Sarasvati. 

Under U.S. Copyright Law 106A the Rights of Attribution "shall not apply to any reproduction."[FN 12]

In other words, the reproductions cannot be attributed to the artist Raja Ravi Varma because he did not create them and cannot be attributed to the chromists because they merely reproduced the work of another artist.


  • Title: Draupadi SudeshnaCreator: Raja Ravi VarmaLocation Created: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Lavelle Road, Bengaluru, Provenance: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Type: Lithograph, Contributor: Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Rights: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru, Medium: Lithograph, Manufacturer: The Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press, Bombay, Dimensions: 35x50 cms, Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02, Collection: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Accession No. : RRV030
  • https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/draupadi-sudeshna/3gEQdpdIoayfKQ
  • NON-DISCLOSED REPRODUCTION - NOT A LITHOGRAPH


Raja Ravi Varma was a painter. Paintings reproduced result in reproductions, not lithographs.

FATHER OF CALENDAR ART
On page 73 of Photos of the Gods': The Printed Image and Political Struggle in India by Christopher Pinney, under the subtitle "Lithographs and The Camera in Bombay and Delhi," the author wrote: "It was the mass-reproduction that in the eyes of some critics led to Ravi Varma's aesthetic downfall. Having stolen the fire of perspective he was foolishly tempted to compromise his art through lithography. The dominant myth has Ravi Varma as a reluctant participant, persuaded in the end by the need to raise popular taste and drive out debased 'scenes of heaven and hell.' Thus did he unwittingly become the 'father of calendar art,' a point repeated ad infinitum at the time of the 1993 Delhi retrospective."[FN 13]

Raja Ravi Varma's paintings are paintings. Reproductions of Raja Ravi Varma paintings are reproductions. Raja Ravi Varma never created an edition of original works of visual art i.e., lithographs. Therefore, the author Christopher Pinney has "unwittingly" perpetuated the misrepresentation of reproductions of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings as original works of visual art i.e., lithographs while at the same time trivializing original works of visual art i.e., lithographs as "calendar art."

"Raja Ravi Varma was one of the most famous of them and set up Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press at Bombay in 1894 unable to cater to the increasing demand of commissioning of his paintings. This was also known as The FAL Press managed by Raja Ravi Varma and his brother Raja Raja Varma.  Financially it was an utter flop and he had to partner initially with the German technician, Fritz Schleicher and employed technician P. Gerhardt to run his press after shifting it to Lonavala.  The Karla, Lonavala Press was later renamed to Malavli Press and was in production until 1980s and got engulfed in the fires." 
http://contemporary-indian-art.blogspot.com/2013/12/raja-ravi-varma-oleograph-or-oleo.html
CHROMIST-MADE GREASY DRAWING ON LIMESTONE BLOCK

Those Ravi Varma Press chromists [with their hands, fingers and fingerprints] reproduces, using a greasy pencil and/or crayon on a limestone block, Raja Ravi Varma's painting. That chromist-made greasy drawing, not drawn by Raja Ravi Varma, on the limestone block is chemically prepared and subsequently inked for each reproduction printed. For each color the chromist makes another greasy drawing on the limestone block and registers that color for printing. For every additional color, the chromist draws on the limestone block, registers and prints that color till the total number of chromist-made reproductions are considered completed.

Notice, I did not say edition. Reproductions, by their very nature, have no limitation.


Riddhi Siddh Ganpati, Early Lithograph by Ravi Varma Press, 14 x 10 inches
http://www.archerindia.com/riddhi-siddhi-ganpati
NON-DISCLOSED CHROMIST-MADE REPRODUCTION

So, if the painter Raja Ravi Varma had ever tried with his own hands and fingers the creation and printing just one color [black] in an edition of lithographs, he would have in all probability emphasized his personal involvement in this labor intensive original creative medium rather than have it trivialized as reproductions of his paintings.

Then, if the painter Raja Ravi Varma had ever tried with his own hands and fingers in the creation, registering and printing multi-colors in an edition of lithographs, much less the 15 to 20 colors alleged, he would have very well insisted on receiving the credit [and deservedly so] for the extreme labor, time and skill he took to complete them. 

There was no such insistence by Raja Ravi Varma.

GOOGLE ARTS AND CULTURE
Yet, Google, on their Arts and Culture website, exposes a complete lack of connoisseurship when they perpetuate the misconception, misrepresentation and false attribution of reproductions as original works of visual art i.e., lithographs to the artist Raja Ravi Varma:

  • "Raja Ravi Varma Koil Thampuran was a celebrated Indian painter and artist. He is considered among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art for a number of aesthetic and broader social reasons. Firstly, his works are held to be among the best examples of the fusion of European techniques with a purely Indian sensibility. While continuing the tradition and aesthetics of Indian art, his paintings employed the latest European academic art techniques of the day. Secondly, he was notable for making affordable lithographs of his paintings available to the public, which greatly enhanced his reach and influence as a painter and public figure. Indeed, his lithographs increased the involvement of common people with fine arts and defined artistic tastes among common people for several decades. In particular, his depictions of Hindu deities and episodes from the epics and Puranas have received profound acceptance from the public and are found, often as objects of worship, across the length and breadth of India."[FN 14]
    [underline mine]

Raja Ravi Varma was a painter. Raja Ravi Varma paintings reproduced result in reproductions. Lithographs are original works of visual art "wholly executed by hand by the artist and excludes any mechanical photomechanical process."  Reproductions of Raja Ravi Varma paintings versus original works of visual art i.e., lithographs are not interchangeable, much less the same.

LITHOGRAPHS EXECUTED BY HAND BY THE ARTIST
This factual perspective is confirmed by U.S. Custom`s May 2006 An Informed Compliance Publication titled Works of Art, Collector`s Pieces Antiques, and Other Cultural Property, which -in part- states: "The expression original engravings, prints and lithographs means impressions produced directly, in black and white or in color, of one or of several plates wholly executed by hand by the artist, irrespective of the process or of the material employed by him, but excluding any mechanical or photomechanical process."[FN 15]

Yet, either from ignorance and/or notions of rarity and speculation in art a.k.a. greed, some believe and/or act on the belief that misrepresenting reproductions as original works of visual art i.e., lithographs is just another way of not letting the truth interfere with commerce. 



Ganesh Shivaswamy a collector of popular art spoke of calendar art and the genius of Raja Ravi Varma
http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/gods-for-the-commoners/article8198458.ece
GANESH SHIVASWAMY

HANDMADE, BUT BY WHO?
A prime example of this skewing of reality of what constitutes an original works of visual art i.e., lithographs versus reproductions was found in Live Mint's published May 27, 2016 "Why lithograph is serious art" article by Jayanthi Madhukar. In the article,  the author quoted attorney and Raja Ravi Varma collector Ganesh V. Shivaswamy stating: “People often ask me why I give such importance to lithographs.” 'Shivaswamy’s stock answer: How would you make a copy of a painting if there were no cameras and offset printers? The answer lies in stone—limestone, actually. “For every colour, one slab of limestone would be etched with the mirror image of the painting and filled with that colour. About 12-24 different-coloured stones would be printed on the same sheet of paper, one after the other, to create one lithograph. Remember, it was all handmade. So much of precision is unimaginable on a mass scale.”[FN 16]
[underline mine]

Yes, they may have been "handmade" but  by who? 

Not by the artist Raja Ravi Varma according to the collector Ganesh V. Shivaswamy's own admission that the so-called "lithographs," attributed to the artist, are actually "cop[ies] of a painting." By any other name "cop[ies] of a painting" are reproductions.

ARTIST DID NOT PARTICIPATE - ARE REPRODUCTIONS
In the 1991 The Fifth Edition of the Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques by Ralph Mayer, the author wrote: “The major traditional graphic-arts processes of long standing and continued popularity are lithograph, etching, drypoint, woodcutting or wood engraving, aquatint, and soft-ground etching. ...The term “graphic arts” excludes all forms of mechanically reproduced works photographed or redrawn on plates; all processes in which the artist did not participate to his or her fullest capacity are reproductions.”[FN 17]

Under U.S. Copyright Law 106 A, “The Rights of Attribution - shall not apply to any reproduction.”[FN 18]

PRINTING INDUSTRIES OF AMERICA
Additionally, this perspective is confirmed by the Printing Industries of America, Inc. in their published Printing Trade Customs, which, in part, states: “6. PREPARATORY MATERIALS Working mechanical art, type, negatives, positives, flats, plates [or limestone blocks], and other items when supplied by the printer, shall remain his exclusive property unless otherwise agreed in writing.”[FN 19]

In other words, if an artist, and/or a company, authorizes a printer and/or chromist to reproduce their work, the resulting reproductions cannot be attributed to the artist, the company's printer and/or chromist. That printer that reproduced those reproductions would own them. That printer would only be contractually obligated to give the artist the reproductions they paid for. The artist pays for 1,000 reproductions, they get a 1,000 reproductions. All of the reproduction overruns [potentially dozens or more], all plates [or limestone blocks], negatives, digital files and the like used to reproduce those reproductions, would be owned by the printer and if they chose to do so that printer [or future owners] could reproduce more reproductions without the knowledge or permission of the artist.

U.S. COPYRIGHT LAW COMPILATIONS AND DERIVATIVE WORKS
Furthermore, under U.S. Copyright Law 103. “Subject matter of copyright: Compilations and derivative works,” it states: “The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work.”[FN 20]

So, the artist and/or the company owns the "material" ie., painting contributed by the artist and/or company, but not the derivative work a.k.a. reproductions. Those reproductions manufactured by the printer, may have been authorized by the artist and/or company but until they are paid for, the printer owns them. 

There is no free lunch.

Raja Ravi Varma was one of the most famous of them and set up Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press at Bombay in 1894 unable to cater to the increasing demand of commissioning of his paintings. This was also known as The FAL Press managed by Raja Ravi Varma and his brother Raja Raja Varma.  Financially it was an utter flop and he had to partner initially with the German technician, Fritz Schleicher and employed technician P. Gerhardt to run his press after shifting it to Lonavala.  The Karla, Lonavala Press was later renamed to Malavli Press and was in production until 1980s and got engulfed in the fires. Finally it was sold to Fritz Schleicher. Now in recent times, Schleichers grandson Robert Sandu disposed off the complete treasures to the conservator Vijaynath Shenoy, who will make an archival museum at Manipal Heritage Village.]
http://contemporary-indian-art.blogspot.com/2013/12/raja-ravi-varma-oleograph-or-oleo.html
RAVI VARMA FINE ART LITHOGRAPHIC PRESS

PRINTED AFTER RAVI VARMA'S DEMISE IN 1906
Yet, if there was any doubt to these so-called "lithographs" actually being non-disclosed chromist-made reproductions of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings, this published quote by the collector Ganesh V. Shivaswamy seems to confirm it: “It is a rare show as some were printed after Ravi Varma’s demise in 1906,” [FN 21]

Raja Ravi Varma never created an edition of lithographs when alive and certainly did not posthumously. The dead don't lithograph.

GANESH SHIVASWAMY'S UNFILTERED RESPONSE
Now the collector Ganesh Shivaswamy's May 26, 2016 email response to this artist/creator of original lithographs concerning these contentious issues of authenticity surrounding the misrepresentation of chromist-made reproductions as original works of visual art i.e., lithographs falsely attributed to Raja Ravi Varma was as follows:
  • I perused your exceedingly erudite email sent to all. Here are my observations from an Indian perspective.

    The title "Why a Lithograph is serious art" is precisely to debunk the general public notion (as also the archaic legal perception) that a lithograph is a trivial copy of a painting. The upcoming exhibition of the lithographs of Ravi Varma's paintings by the Ravi Varma press has made people sit up and think as to whether a lithograph is 'serious art'. It is to that end that I believe the reporter decided to title her article in such a fashion.

    The legal aspects in India however vary greatly from the exposition of law (US sections) as stated by you. Here are some of the aspects of Indian law which would put things in perspective for you.

    First, the only law in India regulating antiquities and art is the Antiques and Art Treasures Act, 1972. As an aside, the Government is considering bringing out a new enactment. Be that as it may, the 1972 Act is presently applicable. Under this act, a notification has been issued on 15.5.1980 which is in super-cession of all previous notifications. By way of this notification, only the following are the only objects requiring to be registered and consequently, in a way, the only objects recognized as 'art':

    a. Sculptures
    b. Paintings (including miniatures and tankhas)
    c. Manuscripts (which contain paintings, illuminations and illustrations)
    d. Sculptures in wood

    Nothing else is considered an antique or art treasure. Notice the absence of lithographs, limited edition prints, photographs, etc.

    Second, we still work with the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Section 62 and 63 tell us what is considered a 'primary' piece of evidence and what is considered 'secondary'  evidence. Secondary evidence means "(2) copies made from the original by mechanical processes which in themselves insure the accuracy of the copy, and copies compared with such copies;". Therefore, the reporter using the word "copy" in her article is accurate in every legal sense.

    As a litigating lawyer, even today, a photograph is considered 'secondary' evidence. It is considered a copy. Lawyers are required to provide the negative or the actual digital file of the photograph.

    Third, the Indian copyright act prescribes the expiry of a copyright 60 years from the date of original publication. These lithographs have all acquired the status of public domian. 


    While this is the legal position, the public perception is also that a lithograph is a copy. The ease of today's mechanical process has made the notion even more trivial. It is precisely to change this perception that the reporter penned the article in this fashion. I am in agreement with you that despite what our laws say or what the general notion is, a lithograph is much more than just a copy, it is an art form in its' own right. This is what the reporter has also said. Therefore, all of us are speaking the same language. [FN 22]
[underline mine]

YOU CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS
A popular English idiomatic proverb or figure of speech "literally means 'you cannot simultaneously retain your cake and eat it.' Once the cake is eaten, it is gone. It can be used to say that one cannot or should not have or want more than one deserves or is reasonable, or that one cannot or should not try to have two incompatible things. The proverb's meaning is similar to the phrases 'you can't have it both ways' and 'you can't have the best of both worlds.'"[FN 23]

In other words, the collector and attorney Ganesh Shivaswamy is trying to have it "both ways" when he wrote: "the general public notion (as also the archaic legal perception) that a lithograph is a trivial copy of a painting" then perpetuates that same misconception by stating "lithographs of Ravi Varma's paintings by the Ravi Varma press."

Remember, Raja Ravi Varma was a painter. Paintings reproduced result in reproductions, not lithographs.

Price List of Ravi Varma Lithographs [1910's]  [Page 1 of 4]
http://www.touchofclass.co.in/Vintage/Ravi-Varma-Lithograph-List.html
RAVI VARMA [d 1906] vs LITHOGRAPH PRICE LIST 1910's

  • NOTE: The above is a reproduction of a public domain image which by its very fact is not copyrightable but that doesn't stop someone, with or without intent, from attempting to create the illusion that they have.


REPRESENTATION
On page 1303 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, -representation- is defined as: “A presentation of fact - either by words or by conduct - made to induce someone to act, esp to enter into a contract.”[FN 24]

DISCLOSURE
On page 476 of the Seventh Edition of Black’s Law Dictionary, -disclosure- is defined as: “The act or process of making known something that was previously unknown.”[FN 25] 

U.S. STATUTORY LAW REQUIRING DISCLOSURE OF REPRODUCTIONS
In the United States of America these are some of the following statutes requiring disclosure of reproductions as reproductions.

  • Under New York Civil Code 15.01 (2.) states: “Article fifteen of the New York arts and cultural affairs law provides for disclosure in writing of certain information concerning multiples of prints and photographs when sold for more than one hundred dollars ($100) - whether the multiple is a reproduction.” The penalties for violation of New York Civil Code statutes under 15.15 may include but not limited to -refund-treble damages-court costs-expert witness fees-attorney fees- and not to mention potential civil fines.[FN 26]

    Under California Civil Code 1741-1745, it states: “California law provides for disclosure in writing of information concerning - whether the multiple is a reproduction” {when} “offered for sale or sold at wholesale or retail for one hundred dollars ($100) or more, exclusive of any frame.”[FN 27]


    Under Oregon Revised Statutes Title 30. Education and Cultural Facilities, Chapter 359, Arts Commission and Arts Program; Art Transactions Fine Print Disclosure Statements, it states: "'Reproduction' means a copy of a fine print, but not a unique print made from the original plate." and "If the seller describes a fine print as a reproduction, the seller need not furnish any further information."[FN 28]

    Under Maryland's Commercial Law Title 14, Secs 501-505, it states: "Seller who describes a print as a 'reproduction' need not furnish other information unless the print is part of a limited edition." The threshold for disclosure is $25 unframed, over $40 framed."[FN 29]

    Under Minnesota's Trade Regulations, Secs. 324.06-324.10, it states: ""reproduction" means a copy of an original or a copy of a print made by a commercial mechanical process;"
    Additionally, the statutes require:
    "(2) prints which are not offered for sale by means of a catalog and which are not alleged to be numbered or limited editions and signed by the artist; or clearly and conspicuously described as reproductions; and
    "(3) prints which are sold or offered at a price less than $250.
    SOURCE: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=324.07
    Furthermore, the statutes state:
    324.10 LIABILITY.
    (a) Any person who sells a fine print and who fails to disclose the information required by section 324.09 is liable to the purchaser thereof in an amount equal to the purchase price of the fine print, including any sales tax paid.
    (b) In addition to the liability imposed by paragraph (a), a person who sells a fine print and who willfully provides false information required by section 324.09 is liable to the purchaser in the amount of $1,000 or in an amount equal to three times the purchase price of the fine print, whichever is greater.
    (c) No action can be maintained to enforce any liability under this section unless the person who is injured by the failure to disclose returns the fine print in original condition to the person violating the provisions of paragraph (a) or (b) and the action is brought within one year after discovery of the violation upon which it is based and in no event more than three years after the fine print was sold."[FN 30]

Rhetorically, if the representation "Raja Ravi Varma lithographs" doesn't match the disclosure "chromist-made reproductions," how can the public give informed consent on whether to pay the price of admission for an exhibition of these non-disclosed chromist-made reproductions, monetarily support a gallery or cultural institution that would practice such [mis]representation, much less whether to express interest in an opportunity to purchase one?

  • Title: Parashuram AvatorCreator: Raja Ravi VarmaLocation Created: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Lavelle Road, Bengaluru, Provenance: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Type: Lithograph, Contributor: Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Rights: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru, Medium: Lithograph, Manufacturer: The Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press, Bombay, Dimensions: 25x35 cms, Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02, Collection: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Bibliographic References: Pratima Kosha, Volume 4, pag 45, Accession No. : RRV031
  • https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/draupadi-sudeshna/3gEQdpdIoayfKQ
  • NON-DISCLOSED REPRODUCTION - NOT A LITHOGRAPH

CERTIFICATE OF AUTHENTICITY: DEALER LIABILITY
The issue of representation versus disclosure is addressed in the September 1998 Art World News trade magazine, where the attorney Paul Winick (partner in the New York office of Thelen, Marrin, Johnson and Bridges), who specializes in intellectual property law, litigation and represents galleries, publishers and artists, wrote the article "Certificates of Authenticity: Dealer Liability."[FN 31]

In his article he explains the application of the Uniform Commercial Code as it applies to the “sales of most forms of visual art.” The author wrote: “UCC express warranty arises from two sources: The description of the goods given by the seller, and the seller statements made to induce the sale.” Those statements are said to become part of the “basis of the bargain” made between buyer and seller and, therefore, a basis for legal action if the description or statements turn out later to have been false.”[FN 32]

The author also wrote: “Warranties need not depend on the sale document and can arise in statements made in advertisements or catalogues, so long as the buyer relied on those statements in formulating the bargain with the seller.”[FN 30] and that “Warranties are applicable regardless of fault or intent. It is no defense that the seller did not mean to make a misstatement, or that he thought the misstatement to be true. If the goods (the artwork) do not conform to the promise made (the warranty), the seller is liable, whether or not he knew it to be true.”[FN 33]


When it comes to “disclaimers,” Paul Winick wrote: “Disclaimers are not viewed favorably by courts and, unless there is some way to reconcile the disclaimer and the representation, the disclaimer is disregarded and the representation is given effect.”[FN 34]

Title: Vishnu Garruda Vahan, Creator: Raja Ravi Varma, Location Created: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Lavelle Road, Bengaluru, Provenance: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Type: Lithograph, Contributor: Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Rights: The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation, Bengaluru, Medium: Lithograph, Manufacturer: The Ravi Varma Press Malavi, Dimensions: 35x50 cms, Creator's Lifetime: 1848-04-29/1906-10-02, Collection: From the collection of Hemamalini Ganesh and Ganesh Shivaswamy, Bengaluru, Bibliographic References: S.K. Ramachandra Rao Pratima Kosha vol. 2 pg. 169, Accession No. : RRV122
https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/asset/vishnu-garruda-vahan/IwG6F72hNnhFgQ
NON-DISCLOSED REPRODUCTION - NOT A LITHOGRAPH

LAW, ETHICS AND THE VISUAL ARTS
On page 816-817 of Kluwer Law International’s published 1998 Law, Ethics and the Visual Arts, Third Edition by John Henry Merryman and Albert E. Elsen, they wrote about “Counterfeit Art.” Under the subtitle “Truth,” the authors wrote: “The most serious harm that good counterfeits do is to confuse and misdirect the search for valid learning.  The counterfeit  objects falsifies history and misdirects inquiry.”[FN 35]
  
Additionally, under the subtitle “Resource Allocation,” the authors wrote: “Museum and art historical resources are always limited. What gets acquired, displayed, conserved and studied is the result of a continuous process of triage, in which some objects can be favoured only at the expenses of others. Counterfeit objects distort the process.”[FN 36]  


Furthermore, under the subtitle “Fraud,” the authors wrote: “There remains the most obvious harm of all: counterfeit cultural objects are instruments of fraud. Most are created in order to deceive and defraud, but even “innocent” counterfeits can, and often will, be so used. The same considerations of justice and social order that make deliberate fraud of other kinds criminal apply equally to fraud through the medium of counterfeit art…”[FN 37]

RAJA RAVI VARMA HERITAGE FOUNDATION
On the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation’s website, it states the foundation: “was established in 2015 to uphold the values and traditional expressions which the great artist sought to promote and delineate through his works…”[FN 38] 

Additionally, the Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation states on their website that it is “firmly rooted in three principles that governed Varma's life,” one of which is “to educate.”[FN 39] Two of the foundation’s “Objectives” is “collect and preserve, catalogue, authenticate and document his paintings, drawings and lithographs” and “scientifically authenticate his original and lithographic works.”[FN 40]

Therefore, since the artist Raja Ravi Varma never created a lithograph in his life, much less posthumously, the enclosed documentation hopefully will be able to assist Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation in accomplishing those worthy goals.

CONCLUSION
Finally, to quote William Wilberforce, an English politician, philanthropist who was "convinced of the importance of religion, morality and education"[FN 41]: "You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”[FN 42]




RAJI RAVI VARMA HERITAGE FOUNDATION PRINCIPALS:


Bharani Thirunal Rukmini Bayi Thampuran
Chairperson
Princess Bharani Thirunal Rukmini Bayi Thampuran of Travancore State is the great-great granddaughter of the master painter Raja Ravi Varma and custodian of his artistic legacy through The Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation.

Gitanjali Maini
Managing Trustee & CEO
[Gitanjali Maini] set up gallery g on Lavelle Road, curating established masters' works, heritage art by Raja Ravi Varma, and his contemporaries. One of the things Gitanjali always wanted to do was promote an organisation for preservation of artistic heritage. She has been a great admirer of Varma’s work - the lithograph of his Viswaroopa which occupies a central place in her home is testimony to the fact. In 2016, the time seemed right, the stars aligned; the substantial interest in the art world and the general public about Raja Ravi Varma needed to be addressed and the family asked Gitanjali to establish and head a foundation to preserve his legacy.

Ganesh V Shivaswamy
Honorary Secretary
Gaanesh V Shivaswamy is a third generation lawyer by profession and a passionate collector of art. By his own admission, his happiness stems more in the fact that he has attempted to catalogue the works of several artists, rather than just collecting art. His impressive collection, most of which are mythological in nature, include rare lithographs - 127 out of 134 to be precise - by Raja Ravi Varma. "I created the first free online catalogue of the lithographs of Raja Ravi Varma. It can be viewed at https://sites.google.com/site/ravivarmalithos/. I have also lent my collection for academic research.” Eminent scholars like Dr. Karline McLain, author of the book Immortal Comics of India was kind enough to credit Shivaswamy for lending some art from his collection for her research."

Jay Varma
Trustee
Jay Varma is a gifted artist who combines a dramatic sense of colour with extraordinary detail, - ”It is my ardent desire that this Foundation perpetuate the accomplishments, both artistic and cultural, of one of India’s icons of art, while maintaining the highest standards of excellence and integrity. I look forward to assiduously participating in activities concerning the arts and charitable undertakings," expresses Varma.


SOURCE: http://www.therrvhfoundation.com/



FOOTNOTES:

2. Works of Art, Collector's Pieces, Antiques, and Other Cultural Property
http://www.cbp.gov/document/publications/works-art-collectors-pieces-antiques-and-other-cultural-property



5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chromolithography

6. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/oleograph

7. https://books.google.com/books?id=AcGNBQAAQBAJ&pg=PT61&lpg=PT61&dq=German+technician+Fritz+Schleicher&source=bl&ots=XlRlQi2nUt&sig=dAyx4_5tivckP9GGLdCHwqU6u_o&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjlibiuytrXAhVFsFQKHWlwA3oQ6AEINTAC#v=onepage&q=German%20technician%20Fritz%20Schleicher&f=false


8. Ibid

9. http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reviews-essays/enduring-myth-ravi-varma

10. http://ravivarma.org/Chromolithographs-by-Raja-Ravi-Varma

11. The Painter by Deepanjana Pal, Publisher: Random House, India; 2009 edition (December 1, 2009), ISBN-10: 8184000642, ISBN-13: 978-8184000641

12. http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106a

13. Publisher: Reaktion Books (February 4, 2004), ISBN-10: 1861891849, ISBN-13: 978-1861891846

14. https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/beta/entity/m03p0s9

15. Works of Art, Collector's Pieces, Antiques, and Other Cultural Property
http://www.cbp.gov/document/publications/works-art-collectors-pieces-antiques-and-other-cultural-property


17. Viking Adult; 5 Rev Upd edition (May 31, 1991), ISBN-10: 0670837016, ISBN-13: 978-0670837014 [This fifth edition has been prepared by Steven Sheehan, Director of the Ralph Mayer Center, Yale University School of Art.]

18. http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106a


20. http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#103

21, http://www.livemint.com/Leisure/oYYmdWGwLsUaPSjla3HFmM/Why-lithograph-is-serious-art.html

22. From: svganesh@gmail.com on behalf of Ganesh Shivaswamy
Sent: Sunday, May 29, 2016 9:33 AM
To: Gary Arseneau
Cc: jayanthi.madhukar@hindustantimes.com; newsroom@livemint.com; readerseditor@thehindu.co.in; whogarth1735@aol.com; ceo@therrvhfoundation.com; honsecy@therrvhfoundation.com; info@therrvhfoundation.com; events@therrvhfoundation.com
Subject: Re: Reproductions of Raja Ravi Varma's paintings are not lithographs.

23. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_can%27t_have_your_cake_and_eat_it


24. © 1999 By West Group, ISBN: 0314022864

25. Ibid

26. http://public.leginfo.state.ny.us/LAWSSEAF.cgi?QUERYTYPE=LAWS+&QUERYDATA=$$ACA15.01$$@TXACA015.01+&LIST=LAW+&BROWSER=BROWSER+&TOKEN=27067392+&TARGET=VIEW

27. http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/cacode/CIV/5/d3/4/1/1/s1738

28.  http://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/chapter/359

29.  http://law.justia.com/codes/maryland/2010/commercial-law/title-14/subtitle-5/


31. http://www.artworldnews.com/

32. Ibid

33. Ibid

34. Ibid

35. © Kluwer Law International 1998, ISBN 90-411-0697-9

36. Ibid

37. Ibid


38. http://www.therrvhfoundation.com/

39. Ibid

40. Ibid

41. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wilberforce 

42. https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/61653-you-may-choose-to-look-the-other-way-but-you






FREE hit counter and Internet traffic statistics from freestats.com