Kapoor Galleries

Kapoor Galleries Founded in 1975 by Ramesh and Urmil Kapoor, Kapoor Galleries Inc specializes in Indian & Himalayan Arts.
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It has been and continues to be an invaluable resource for museum quality India Miniature Paintings and Himalayan Statuary. The gallery has been instrumental in developing major museum collections as well as distinguished private collections worldwide. Kapoor Galleries has placed works in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Norton Simon Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, San Diego Museum of Art, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts among others.

On view at Kapoor Galleries until August 6th is “Master Brushworks,” an exhibition featuring recent work by Tibetan arti...
07/23/2024

On view at Kapoor Galleries until August 6th is “Master Brushworks,” an exhibition featuring recent work by Tibetan artist Pema Rinzin, in dialogue with notable pieces from the gallery’s collection.

This exhibition highlights the intricacy of ancient Tibetan artistic practices while illustrating the lineage of tradition through the contemporary pieces of Rinzin.

🎨Works on view feature traditional Tibetan motifs, including mandalas and scenes of wildlife, as well as materials such as cinnabar, sumi ink, and gold leaf.

We hope to see you in the gallery to be inspired by the imagination of Pema Rinzin and the artistic intricacies of Tibet.

🔗To learn more about Pema Rinzin and his work, tap the link in our bio to view the exhibition booklet.

Kapoor Galleries
34 E 67 St
Mon - Fri 9:30a - 5:30p

📣 ON VIEW NOW through August 06, 2024 ✨Master Brushworks: Pema Rinzin x Kapoor Galleries✨Stop by Kapoor Galleries to see...
07/11/2024

📣 ON VIEW NOW through August 06, 2024

✨Master Brushworks: Pema Rinzin x Kapoor Galleries✨

Stop by Kapoor Galleries to see our collection of ancient Himalayan sculptures and paintings alongside Pema Rinzin’s contemporary Tibetan artwork.

🎨 The works in Rinzin’s exhibition embody self-expression and attention to detail. As the title of the exhibition suggests, the artist’s works emphasize brushwork and drawing - the foundations of Thangka painting and the first skills he developed during his artistic training. Rinzin’s work is influenced by his years living in Japan, where he was exposed to Chinese, Korean, and Japanese traditions of brushwork, especially the work of Hokusai and the Kano school. “Master brushwork means you can see depth and color in the black and white of sumi-ink art. If you pay attention to the brushwork of Tibetan art, it is the same. Drawing and brushwork are the essence of Tibetan art,” says Rinzin.

🔗 To learn more about Rinzin and his work, tap the link in our bio to view the exhibition booklet. Artwork price on request.


💡Discover the depths of Tibetan Thangkas at Kapoor Galleries! Religious Art in Tibet is usually classified into three ma...
07/09/2024

💡Discover the depths of Tibetan Thangkas at Kapoor Galleries! Religious Art in Tibet is usually classified into three major categories: murals in temples and monasteries, manuscripts, and cloth paintings—Thangkas.

🎨 The present painting is the fourth of thirteen compositions depicting the Tashilhunpo lineage of Panchen Lama incarnations, designed at Narthang Monastery in Tsang Province and widely disseminated in the form of woodcuts by the mid-eighteenth century. Abhayakaragupta is depicted among Vajrayogini at top left, the siddha Ratnasambhava at top right, and Mahakala Panjaranatha at bottom right.

🏛️ See this painting in the gallery alongside our current exhibition, Master Brushworks, showcasing new and previously shown works by Brooklyn-based Tibetan artist, Pema Rinzin ✨ Head to the link in our bio to learn more.

July 05 — August 6
Mon - Fri, 10:30am - 5:30pm
Weekends or otherwise by appointment only


We are very excited to announce our participation in Asia Week New York 2023! Come view our exhibition, Divine Gestures:...
03/04/2023

We are very excited to announce our participation in Asia Week New York 2023! Come view our exhibition, Divine Gestures: Channels of Enlightenment, March 16-24. We look forward to having you!

10/26/2022

May this Diwali echo cheer and spark joy in your lives. Kapoor Galleries wishes you all a very Happy Diwali and a prosperous new year!

Coronation of Rama,

Opaque watercolor heightened with gold on paper
Rajasthan, Jaipur, c. 1800.
Image: 12 x 9 1/4 in.

The present miniature depicts the very pivotal instance of Rama’s coronation from the Indian epic Ramayana. Here, Rama and Sita can be seen enthroned and sage Vashishtha performs the coronation of Rama by anointing his forehead with a Raj tilak (sacred mark of coronation). Hindu deities and noble figures can be seen gracing this occasion. The fine and detailed rendering of the flora and architecture is a typical characteristic of miniature paintings. This detailed rendering is complemented by the fine gold work in the painting. The instance of Rama’s coronation occurred once Rama returned back to his kingdom Ayodhya from Lanka (present day Sri Lanka) after defeating the demon king Ravana who had kidnapped his wife Sita. Therefore Ram Rajya – the rulership of Rama is often taken as an exemplary model of righteous rulership and is widely seen as a subject matter in Indian miniature paintings.

06/17/2022
Vishnu and Lakshmi astride GarudaPahari Hills, 18th centuryThe present painting depicts Vishnu and Lakshmi seated astrid...
06/16/2022

Vishnu and Lakshmi astride Garuda
Pahari Hills, 18th century

The present painting depicts Vishnu and Lakshmi seated astride his vahana, Garuda. The blue-skinned Vishnu holds one of his four attributes in each hand: a mace, a conch shell, a lotus flower, and a chakra. Lakshmi looks up at him in devotion, pulling him towards her with one hand on his shoulder—a subtle and romantic touch that Pahari artists were well-known for. Garuda supports the couple, grasping their feet and holding them steady. The assured hand and dreamlike lyricism give this image an exceptional ability to convey human emotions. The folio, which has been pasted onto a new backing, is inscribed in a different hand in the year Samvat 1840 (1783 A.D.), attributing the work to Ram Dyal.

The drawing on the verso of this painting has been identified as Radha and Krishna’s Reconciliation, and can be compared to another composition of the same scene from Kangra, circa 1790–1800, formerly in the Coomaraswamy Collection, now in the Cleveland Museum of Art (see Linda York Leach, Indian Miniature Paintings and Drawings, The Cleveland Museum of Art Catalogue of Oriental Art, Part One, Cleveland, 1986, no. 122). The drawing provides a fascinating look into the process of the famed Pahari ateliers. The crisp lines, drawn by skilled hands, are by no means the work of a ‘rough draft’—despite being uncolored, the image is not in fact unfinished. Functioning as an ‘artist drawing’ that would be kept in the studio as a reference, inscriptions throughout contain coloring instructions. The red inscription on the top right specifies that the background be painted red, while the inscription in the center of the window directs the artist to “paint the color of moonlight, showing the moon in the sky.” These directives helped to maintain consistency throughout the atelier’s works, which were usually executed by a number of different hands.

Untitled (Woman Standing)Jamini Roy (Indian, 1887–1972), circa 1920One of the earliest and most important artists of the...
06/09/2022

Untitled (Woman Standing)
Jamini Roy (Indian, 1887–1972), circa 1920

One of the earliest and most important artists of the Indian modernist movement, Jamini Roy began his artistic training in the European academic style. In response to a burgeoning sense of nationalism, from the mid-1920s he became increasingly influenced by indigenous folk art and craft traditions as well as East Asian calligraphy. Roy was particularly inspired by the Kalighat style, producing minimalist works characterized by soft, curvilinear strokes showcasing the artist’s control of the brush. These paintings employed imagery from everyday life, such as mother and child figures, and were executed in monochromatic palettes.

The present artwork epitomizes the simplistic style Roy developed during this period in his career. Fluid, sweeping black strokes against a soft gray background form the outline of a woman standing in three-quarters view, her hands crossed in front and her head tilted coyly. Devoid of any identifying features, the painting evokes an inviting yet mysterious atmosphere, ultimately illustrating the artist’s mastery of the brush and contour. The piece is signed in Bengali at the lower right.

Sambara and RatiGuler-Chamba, circa 1780Emerging from his humble cave dwelling is the demon Sambara alongside Rati, the ...
06/06/2022

Sambara and Rati
Guler-Chamba, circa 1780

Emerging from his humble cave dwelling is the demon Sambara alongside Rati, the Hindu goddess of love and counterpart to K**a. In a past life, the beautiful Rati was married to K**a before he was incinerated by Shiva. Devastated by the death of her husband, Rati underwent severe penance and was eventually granted the boon of his reincarnation. In order to accompany her husband into his rebirth, Rati abandoned her former body to be reborn as Mayavati, the wife of Sambara. Rati was then told that K**a’s reincarnation, Pradyumna, would someday slay Sambara, reuniting the lovers once again.

Compared to Mayavati-Rati’s small frame and delicate features, Sambara exudes virile power as he puts his arm around her. His large body is covered in finely rendered hairs and his eyebrow is raised in a seductive manner, eyes filled with lust. Despite the sexual tension in this scene, however, Mayavati-Rati never sleeps with Sambara, who is technically her husband. Although Rati is the Hindu goddess of carnal desire, lust, and sexual pleasure, she remains pure and untouched, donning an illusionary form to enchant Sambara. Saving herself for her true husband, Pradyumna, Mayavati only ever gives Sambara her shadow in bed—hence the name Maya, meaning illusion.

The present painting depicts Sambara leading Mayavati from a cave made of striking pink and gray rocks. The lush green Pahari foothills are interspersed with diminutive trees, making the pseudo-couple appear larger than life. Belonging to a transitional period, this painting exhibits traits from both the Guler and Chamba schools of painting.

Painted saddleTibet, 15th–17th centuryThe present saddle’s wooden frame, or saddletree, is richly decorated with gilded ...
05/31/2022

Painted saddle
Tibet, 15th–17th century

The present saddle’s wooden frame, or saddletree, is richly decorated with gilded and varnished leather panels on the arched front plate (pommel) and rear plate (cantle). The sideboards are equipped with end-board extensions that adjoin the leather varnished panels which are strengthened with iron frames adorned with gold and silver foliate scrollwork. Both pommel and cantle are decorated with dense scrolling foliage with repeated lotus blooms on the top register, and a wish-fulfilling jewel on a lotus base flanked by a pair of makara dragons on the lower. On both panels, the two registers are separated by a solid gold line on a raised central rib—the pommel, however, also includes a third, lower register, separated by a gilt-iron arch and decorated again with scrolling lotus blooms.

This saddle’s floral arrangements can be compared to a 17th-century Tibetan wooden box from a private collection that is illustrated in Wooden Wonders: Tibetan Furniture in Secular and Religious Life (K**ansky, 2004, p.64, cat. no.241), as well as to those published in Warriors of the Himalayas: Rediscovering the Arms and Armour of Tibet (La Rocca, 2006, P.105, cat. no. 30). The latter exhibits the same lacquer-like effect, formed by layers of pigmented shellac followed by the gold leaf designs, another layer of shellac, and a final coat of tung oil glaze.

A princess enjoying paan on a terraceGuler, circa 1790–1800Seated on an open white marble terrace before a blossoming tr...
05/24/2022

A princess enjoying paan on a terrace
Guler, circa 1790–1800

Seated on an open white marble terrace before a blossoming tree and flanking cypresses, the princess strikes a ruler’s pose. She sits in a relaxed posture while wearing a courtly turban with an elaborate sarpech, atop a grand throne. The princess lifts a piece of paan to her mouth while two maids wait on her with a betel box and a chowrie. The ducks, captured in motion as they approach a small fountain in the foreground, highlight the fleeting moment frozen by this anonymous artist.

The painting is composed with a broad and vibrant color palette indicative of the Guler style. This naturalistic style of traditional Indian painting was developed by Hindu artists who were previously trained in the Mughal court. Paintings like this resulted from the patronage of Guler Rajas and typically possess a particular delicacy and spirituality, evidenced by the present composition.

Inebriated asceticsRajasthan, circa 1750–1760Caricatures of inebriated ascetics showing the effects of o***m and bhang w...
05/20/2022

Inebriated ascetics
Rajasthan, circa 1750–1760

Caricatures of inebriated ascetics showing the effects of o***m and bhang were a popular theme in Indian painting from the 17th through the 19th centuries. These substances were used by holy men to aid them in achieving a state of spiritual ecstasy, especially in the festivals and rituals associated with Shiva. Although such illustrations were also produced by Mughal and Pahari schools, the Rajput representations tend towards ridicule, a feature that can also be seen in Rajasthani caricatures of firangis (foreigners).

The present painting illustrates a chandu-khana, which roughly translates to ‘o***m den.’ At the top of the scene two men beneath a tent are preparing bhang, a drink made with ma*****na, with a couple of onlookers eager to fill their bowls. Below them a group of men revel in their intoxicated states, some crouching with their eyes closed, others smoking o***m from their nargilas. A number of them are depicted shirtless, exaggerating their scrawny and bony appearances. The ascetics are arranged in rough rows against a plain brown background (almost as if a series of figure studies), a compositional model that appears in other paintings of this theme. The resulting lack of perspective informs the Rajput origins of the painting. For another 18th-century depiction of this subject from Rajasthan, see the San Diego Museum of Art (acc. 1990.722). Note the similar style of composition as well as the individualized rendering of each figure.

VajravarahiNepal, circa 1800The present sculpture depicts Vajravarahi, a prominent female deity in ta***ic Buddhism and ...
05/18/2022

Vajravarahi
Nepal, circa 1800

The present sculpture depicts Vajravarahi, a prominent female deity in ta***ic Buddhism and consort of Chakrasamvara. Although she is usually shown accompanying or embracing him as his other half, Vajravarahi alone is often considered to be a godly representation of the combined wisdom held by all buddhas. One of Vajravarahi’s eminent identifying features is the sow head, or varahi, emerging from behind her proper right ear. Tibetan Buddhists have symbolically used the sow to represent ignorance within their practices and the attached head implies the defeat of the beast, reinforcing Vajravarahi’s overarching wisdom and general triumph over ignorance.

Another one of Vajravarahi’s identifying features is her distinct pose, which appears as though she is frozen in movement, with her proper right leg bent towards her proper left thigh–a position that is referred to as ardhaparyanka. Beneath her lies a co**se, a Buddhist representation of the ultimate evil that has been conquered by Vajravarahi’s immense power. In addition to her decorated body and billowing drapery, Vajravarahi proudly wears an intricate headpiece with the heads of five humans. She also wears a large garland of severed heads that hangs around her dancing figure. In her raised proper right hand she holds a knife that is thought to be used to cut out irrelevant worldly concepts and leave only an acute awareness or jnana. Her proper left hand holds a small cup, usually a skull, that is said to be filled with blood or the scrambled ideas of humans. The present sculpture’s intense and violent imagery further emphasizes Vajravarahi’s vigor and power as she symbolically defeats ignorance, the fear of death, and other earthly or mundane views.

Illustration to a Ragamala series: Gujari RaginiMughal, 18th centuryClutching at a handful of pink roses, a beautiful na...
05/12/2022

Illustration to a Ragamala series: Gujari Ragini
Mughal, 18th century

Clutching at a handful of pink roses, a beautiful nayika listens as her companion plays the veena. The musician’s hair is adorned with a long white feather surmounted by a white jewel that glistens like the moonlight off of the small pond at their feet. Long-necked birds bathe and stretch their wings as they too enjoy the beautiful melody. The darkness of the night overwhelms them, obscuring the surrounding garden and the shadowed outline of a lingam shrine. In the background, the faint glow of the moon fights to break through the undulating storm clouds that linger over the distant spires of a city.

The present scene depicts Gujari Ragini, a ragamala that has been described as a sixteen-year-old girl, adorned with jewels like moonbeams, who picks flowers and plays the veena as she waits for her lover to meet her in embrace. Gujari Ragini, however, lacks a consistent iconography, and has also been known to depict a woman playing the veena to peacocks or even Krishna seducing women at the water well. Thus, making an identification is dubious without translation of the nasta’liq inscriptions in the upper right corner and lower register. This is especially true considering this painting’s similarity to a rare iteration of the Sarang Ragini particular to Hyderabad, two of which are published in Klaus Ebeling’s Ragamala Paintings (1973, cat. 80, p. 195 and cat. 242 p. 256). Whether the present ragamala is that of Gujari or Sarang Ragini, or even something entirely different, it is nevertheless a charming image.

Illustration to a Ragamala series: Todi RaginiMughal, 18th centuryStanding beneath the pink blossoms of a small sapling,...
05/10/2022

Illustration to a Ragamala series: Todi Ragini
Mughal, 18th century

Standing beneath the pink blossoms of a small sapling, a lone nayika wanders an open glade. The vast empty landscape emphasizes the woman’s loneliness, the only audience for her longing tune being a blackbuck deer—horns delicately embellished with gold and a jeweled necklace around its outstretched neck—who serves as a stand-in for her absent lover. A cool white sun peeks through the morning haze, bringing a tinge of gold into the slowly brightening sky—the flat layers of metallic and cool colors evoking the feeling of a spring morning. The iconography is immediately recognizable as that of Todi Ragini, which recalls the wistful mood of love in separation.

See another folio of Todi Ragini at the Royal Collection Trust (acc. RCIN 1005127), which while stylistically quite different, shares a similar composition to the present painting, characterized by a scarce background and the trifecta of nayika, deer, and tree.

Two architectural drawings of the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz MahalCompany School, North India, possibly Delhi, late ...
05/04/2022

Two architectural drawings of the tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal
Company School, North India, possibly Delhi, late 19th century

Son of Jahangir and grandson of Akbar the Great, emperor Shah Jahan (1592–1666) was responsible for shepherding in the golden age of the Mughal Empire. Under him, arts and literature flourished and a stunning architectural style was established, culminating in the er****on of the legendary Taj Mahal. Located in Agra, the seat of Mughal rule, the Taj was intended to serve as a tomb for Shah Jahan’s deceased wife. He himself was buried with her upon his death.

The first folio, identifiable by the ‘T’ marked at the bottom left of the page, depicts Shah Jahan’s tomb in the Taj Mahal complex, which appears decorated with traditional Islamic floral and geometric motifs. The second folio depicts the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal at the Taj Mahal complex. While her tomb is also carefully adorned with floral motifs, it can be differentiated from Shah Jahan’s by the Quranic inscription near the top. The inscription was created using pietra dura—a decorative mosaic technique that involves cutting and fitting stones to create detailed designs—and reads the ninety names of God, including “O’ Noble, O’ Magnificent, O’ Eternal.”

These drawings served as a form of architectural documentation for European audiences. The correspondence between the British and Indian artists helped to advocate for the preservation and maintenance of Mughal monuments and simultaneously introduced the West to the architectural marvels of India.

Ruler and consort seated in a composite palanquinGuler, 19th centuryComposite forms were a popular theme in Indian minia...
05/02/2022

Ruler and consort seated in a composite palanquin
Guler, 19th century

Composite forms were a popular theme in Indian miniature painting, depicting animals, demons, or other figures made up of an amalgam of animals or people. Here, a group of six humans intertwine to form a palanquin, carried by two servants in flowing jamas. Within the structure, a ruler (denoted by the soft nimbus surrounding his head) is seated against a bolster cushion in conversation with his consort. The figures are garbed in soft lilac and earthy green with contrasting yet complimentary orange and yellow tones, creating a color palette that is particularly pleasing. The bare background displays a pale blue hue, with soft green and delicate tufts of grass below.

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