Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020


Master of Arts (MA)


Art History

Document Type



India had carried a traditional history, some of those grew through time and some were fetched from Persia during the Mughal period. From the time of the British-Raj, India had experienced a completely diverse culture derived from western. This Thesis discusses the interests of Indian Maharajas in European culture which grew their attraction towards European art. More precisely I am going to talk about Maharaja Yashwant Rao Holker of Indore and Maharaja Jagjit Singh from Kapurthala, their changing taste away from the tradition. Both Maharaja was highly convinced by the European lifestyle, which reflects their changing tastes towards art. They commissioned several European artists for making their portraits, furniture, and jewelry. These Maharajas perceive the European trend which exquisitely unveils through the arts they have commissioned. Based on the correspondence with the intermediary, French exhibition catalogs on Indian Maharajas and the comparison with traditional Indian taste, I will look forward to explaining their fascination for the European lifestyle. This research is initially inspired by the very recent exhibition held in Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris named “The Modern Maharaja”. And in my paper, I am going to compare Maharajas Modern mores with traditional decern. The focal components will be the portraits of the Maharaja and their better halves, painted by Bernard Boutet de Monvel and Philip de Laszlo, photographs by Man Ray, Art Deco-inspired furniture by Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and pieces of jewelry by Cartier to prove how the Maharajas appreciated the Modern culture into their lifestyle.

Committee Chair

Dr. Darius Spieth