For decades, Mimi Wilson Dozier was the impassioned ringleader of VMFA’s Friends of Indian Art. Together with former curator Dr. Joseph M. Dye III she introduced a generation of Richmond-area residents to the subcontinent’s enchanting artistic creations. Encouraged by her husbands, Perk and Kemp, Mimi gradually amassed a first-rate collection of Indian miniature paintings.
These 24 works, now on view in the museum’s Indian Pavilion Gallery, include superb examples from many of North India’s myriad regional painting schools. They are presented in a loosely thematic arrangement that foregoes art history’s typical chronological and geographic march, instead allowing the viewer to consider images created across periods and places, related to one another by subject matter.
What initially drew this Richmond collector to Indian paintings was their bright colors, flat surfaces, and stylized figures. With time, she became every bit as delighted by these works’ subtleties and sophistications. VMFA’s visitors now have the opportunity to be captivated, by these paintings’ colors, their intricacies, and their transporting charm.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether or not you go, Indian Painting: From Cave Temples to the Colonial Period surveys the most notable styles and periods of Indian painting and offers an introduction to the legends and historic personalities that inspire its entertaining subjects. From refined portraits of resplendent maharajas to earthy depictions of divine rogues cavorting with milkmaids, Indian miniature paintings depict the world as it should be: radiant, plentiful and passionate. These manuscript illustrations combine vibrant color with exquisite delicacy, offering immediate impact while also rewarding lengthy examination.