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The Leydens: Sculpture, Paintings, Cartoons

  • Name (text):

    The Leydens: Sculpture, Paintings, Cartoons

    Word Count: 5

  • Name:
    The Leydens: Sculpture, Paintings, Cartoons
  • Kind of Event:
    Exhibition
  • Start Date:
    21-05-1948
  • End Date:
    29-05-1948
  • Introduction:

    In 1948 Albrecht and Rudi von Leyden sold their personal works of art in order to set up an “Artists' Aid Fund”, which became an institution in the following years.

    Word Count: 29

  • Content:

    In 1948 Albrecht and Rudi von Leyden sold their personal works of art in order to set up an “Artists’ Aid Fund”, which became an institution in the following years.
    On 21 May 1948, the English gentleman A. St J. Shuttleworth opened the Exhibition by the Leydens: Sculpture, Paintings, Cartoons to a large crowd of art lovers in the salon of the Bombay Art Society. Four members of the German von Leyden family exhibited their personal works of art: Rudi von Leyden showed his Denley caricatures, Albrecht his oil paintings, mother Luise her watercolours and father Victor Ernst von Leyden his wood carvings.
    Albrecht Robert von Leyden (1905–1994) worked from 1927 for Agfa Photo Co. in India. His younger brother Rudolf Reinhold von Leyden (1908–1983), a doctor of geology and later an advertising specialist and well-known art critic and art promoter in Bombay, had to leave Germany in 1933 for political reasons and was taken in by his brother Albrecht in Bombay. Their parents, Victor Ernst von Leyden (1880–1963) and Luise von Leyden, (née Reichenheim 1883–1976), joined their sons in 1939 after their house in Garmisch-Partenkirchen was expropriated. The Nazis in Germany persecuted Luise von Leyden because of her Jewish origins. They had already, in 1934, forced her husband to retire from his positions as ministerial director at the Prussian Ministry of the Interior and Senate President.
    However Albrecht also lost his job as general director of Agfa India in the autumn of 1938 for racist reasons. The NSDAP Auslandsorganisation (NSDAP-AO; NSDAP foreign organisation) imposed massive pressure on German companies, their employees and all Germans living in Bombay. Every German company was forced to fire its Jewish employees and employ German Nazis to expand its informal political network.
    After a few difficult months, Albrecht found employment with Allied Photographics Ltd. The united family lived at 17 Pali Hill, Bandra, for the entire war, until August 1948 (Rudi later had an apartment in downtown Bombay).
    During the interwar years, the Leyden parents had lived with their five children Ernst, Albrecht, Rudolf, Wolfgang and Viktoria in a highly educated, bourgeois, emancipated milieu in Berlin with an emphasis on art education and the observance of rituals and special days. In addition, the father attached great importance to athletic performance, so all of them were mountaineers and excellent athletes in various disciplines. A very sporty family that broke traditional gender roles and enjoyed a close lifelong relationship between children and parents. The children were encouraged to practise science, the arts, and sports alike. Through socialisation and parental influence, they became all-rounders and showed an interest in politics, science, sports, and various arts, which they also actively practised.
    After his forced retirement Viktor von Leyden took up woodcarving and he pursued this passion during his reclusive years of exile in India. Luise von Leyden adapted very well to life in India and led a very active social life during the nine years she spent there. She kept her sons’ networks very much alive and managed the household and servants at the family home at Pali Hill.
    The Leyden exhibition was a typical joint venture of the Leyden brothers, Rudi and Albrecht. They were very close and had lived together in a foreign country since 1933. Albrecht initially financed Rudi and his journey to India after the Nazis started looking for him. As art connoisseurs and amateur artists, they developed unique art-political considerations and instruments to support and encourage young avant-garde artists in Bombay. As an Agfa manager, Albrecht had built up business networks from 1927 on which his brother could build from 1933. Later they expanded these to include emerging young artists by arranging advertising contracts and gathering audiences and collectors for their works of art in order to make a living. Both used their skills as advertising experts for young, aspiring artists.
    The two men developed their own individual modes of expression in the visual arts; Rudi pursued drawing and cartoons, Albrecht oil painting and photography.
    For the exhibition folder, Rudi drew one of his well-known Denley (from Ley-Den to Den-Ley) cartoons, which he had published in The Illustrated Weekly of India.  Albrecht was the financial backbone of the project, raising money for impoverished artists. Art patronage, promotion and funding were not the prime agenda in civil war-stricken India after Partition. The proceeds from the sale of the oil paintings and cartoons were used to help set up the “Artists’ Aid Fund”, which was transformed into an official institution in 1950. In subsequent years, other artists followed their example and donated works of art to the annual exhibitions to help artists in need. The Bombay Art Society Salon, was renamed the “Artists’ Aid Center” and later the “Artist’s Center”, presumably after the inauguration of the Jehangir Art Gallery.
    For Luise and Victor Ernst this was their farewell exhibition. They sold the art they had created during their time in exile and may have used the proceeds to finance their journey home to Germany after nine years of exile in India. The Leydens: Sculpture, Paintings, Cartoons exhibition was an early post-independence project to create sustainability for emerging local artists by creating funding and institution building.

    Word Count: 844

  • Signature Image:
    Folder for the Leyden exhibition in May 1948, front and back (© Private Archive Flora Veit-Wild, Berlin; All Rights Reserved).
  • Media:
    Folder (inside) for the Leyden exhibition in May 1948 with the titles of the exhibits (© Private Archive Flora Veit-Wild, Berlin; All Rights Reserved).
    The four exhibiting artists: Luise and Victor Ernst von Leyden (front), Rudolf and Albrecht von Leyden (with glasses) (back) (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).
    The opening was well attended: in front the Elephant, woodcarving by Victor Ernst von Leyden (far left), who is sitting under his sculpture in conversation with a gentleman, his wife Luise (with a headscarf, from behind) sitting in the same row. Käthe Langhammer moves to the far right in the photo; the group at the back in front of the oil paintings by Albrecht von Leyden (from left): Kekoo Gandhy, Walter Langhammer (from behind), Khorshed Gandhy in conversation with two unknown women (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).
    Rudolf von Leyden´s Denley caricatures on display and for sale (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).
    The financial person behind the project: Albrecht “Lolly” von Leyden, an enthusiastic amateur painter, self-portrait from later years, n.d. (painting currently lost; Photo: Margit Franz, 2004; All Rights Reserved).
    Main entrance to Ador House, the exhibition venue in the salon of the Bombay Art Society, 2018 (Photo: Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).
    Ador House, exhibition venue in the Bombay Art Society Salon, 2018 (Photo: Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Anonymous. “Leydenʼs Family Art Works: Bombay Exhibition.” The Times of India, 22 May 1948, p. 9.

    Arbuthnot, Mollie. “Bombay Satire: Rudolf von Leydenʼs Political Cartoons in India in the 1930s and 40s.” 12 December 2018, British Library, Asian and African studies blog, blogs.bl.uk/asian-and-african/2018/12/bombay-satire-rudolf-von-leydens-political-cartoons-in-india-in-the-1930s-and-40s-.html. Accessed 10 April 2021.

    Dalmia, Yashodhara. The Making of Modern Indian Art: The Progressives. Oxford University Press, 2001.

    Franz, Margit. Gateway India: Deutschsprachiges Exil in Indien zwischen britischer Kolonialherrschaft, Maharadschas und Gandhi. CLIO, 2015.

    Franz, Margit. “From Dinner Parties to Galleries: The Langhammer-Leyden-Schlesinger Circle in Bombay – 1940s through the 1950s.” Arrival Cities. Migrating Artists and New Metropolitan Topographies in the 20th Century, edited by Burcu Dogramaci et al., Leuven University Press, 2020, pp. 73–90. Project Muse, doi: 10.1353/book.77990. Accessed 30 March 2021.

    Gopalakrishnan, V.S. “‘Art is Man’s Nature; Nature is God’s Art’. Philips James Bailey (1816–1912).” Jubilant Gold: 50 Years of Artistsʼ Centre, A Celebratory Exhibition of Works of K.H. Ara, S. Bakre, H.A. Gade, M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, exh. cat. Artistsʼ Centre, Mumbai, 2001, n.p.

    Leyden, Wolfgang von. Growing up under the Weimar Republic, 1918–1933. Vantage Press, 1984.

    Veit-Wild, Flora, “‘Es ist kein Traum, Dir auf Deinen ersten richtigen Brief zu antworten...’. Luise von Leyden als Chronistin jüdischen Exils in Indien.” Das Ende des Exils? Briefe von Frauen nach 1945 (Frauen und Exil, 7), edited by Irene Below et al., edition text + kritik, 2014, pp. 88–104.

    Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. “Ernst Viktor von Leyden.” 8 September, Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Viktor_von_Leyden. Accessed 10 April 2021.

    Word Count: 249

  • Archives and Sources:

    Private Private Archive Flora Veit-Wild Archive, Berlin.
    Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes.
    Private Archive Margit Franz, Sinabelkirchen.

    Word Count: 18

  • Author:
    Margit Franz
  • Participants (selection):

    Albrecht Robert “Lolly” von Leyden, Luise von Leyden, Rudolf Reinhard “Rudi” “Rudy” von Leyden, Victor Ernst von Leyden

    Word Count: 18

  • Exhibited Objects:

    Wooden Sculptures by Victor Ernst von Leyden, Watercolors by Luise von Leyden, Oil Paintings by Albrecht von Leyden, Cartoons by Rudolf von Leyden.

    Word Count: 23

  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    6 Rampart Row, Kala Ghoda, Bombay (now 6, K Dubash Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai).

  • Metropolis:
    Bombay
  • Entry in process:
    no
  • Margit Franz. "The Leydens: Sculpture, Paintings, Cartoons." METROMOD Archive, 2021, https://archive.metromod.net/viewer.p/69/2951/object/5141-11941872, last modified: 14-09-2021.
  • Rudolf von Leyden
    GeologistAdvertisement SpecialistJournalistArt CriticArt CollectorCartoonist

    The advertisement expert, Rudolf von Leyden, became a major art critic and art historian in Bombay in the 1940s, advocating an urgent need for modernism in art in post-colonial India.

    Word Count: 30

    Rudolf and Nena von Leyden’s farewell party for Francis Newton. Showing all members of the Progressive Artists’ Group. Front from left: PAG = M.F. Husain, S.K. Bakre, H.A. Gade, K.H. Ara, F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza with writer Mulk Raj Anand (1st right front). Back: Käthe Langhammer (with lace collar dress), Rudolf von Leyden with his wife Nena (centre), Walter Langhammer (2nd right), Ebrahim Alkazi (theatre pioneer, 1st right back), Bombay 1949. (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).
    Letterhead of The Hand. Commercial Art Studio Rudolf von Leyden, 1934 (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).Advertisement for Agfa by Rudolf von Leyden (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).Bombay Art Society Committees 1952/53, reprinted in Bombay Art Society 62th Annual Exhibition 1952–53 (at Jehangir Art Gallery), Bombay 1952, n.p. (Photo: Margit Franz 2021).Two modernists meet: Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (left) and Rudolf von Leyden (right), 1950s. (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).The article by Rudolf and Nena von Leyden “Ganjifa, the Playing Cards of India” (Marg, vol. 3, no. 4, 1949, p. 36; reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).Indian President Zakir Husain (left), President of India, opened the first Triennial for contemporary art on 10 February 1968 in the Lalit Kala Gallery in New Delhi. In the picture on the left with jury member Rudolf von Leyden (right). (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).
    Bombay
    Emanuel Schlesinger
    Factory OwnerTechnical DirectorArt CollectorArt Critic

    The art collector Schlesinger provided primarily financial aid by creating working opportunities for young artists in post-independence Bombay, and initiated the corporate culture of buying art.

    Word Count: 26

    Opening of the Raza exhibition, first row from left: Unknown, S.H. Raza, Käthe Langhammer, Rudolf von Leyden, second row from left: Walter Langhammer, K.H. Ara, Emanuel Schlesinger, 1948 (Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz, authorized by the late S.H. Raza © Raza archive; All Rights Reserved).
    Letter from Emanuel Schlesinger (Bombay) to S. H. Raza (Paris), September 1956, on official INDON letterhead paper (Reprinted from: Vajpeyi 2013, 96; Image courtesy: The Raza Foundation).Emanuel Schlesinger (far left, seated in the first row) at the opening of the Chemould Gallery at Jehangir Art Gallery Main Hall, September 1963 (Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz © Gandhy Archive, Mumbai; All Rights Reserved).Early Raza painting Street Scene in Bombay from Schlesinger Collection as a calendar print (Photo: Margit Franz 2010; All Rights Reserved).
    Bombay
    Ernst N. Schaeffer
    JournalistPhotojournalistTour GuideEditorRadio ModeratorNewspaper Correspondent

    In exile Ernst Schaeffer diversified his journalistic practice and developed an understanding of Bombay through walking the city streets, taking on street-level-photography and photojournalism.

    Word Count: 24

    Portrait of Ernest N. Shaffer, around 1965. (© Shaffer 1971; Photo: Margit Franz 2021).
    Photo Studio Ernst Schaeffer's logo and address (© Antiquariat Gerhard Gruber (Heilbronn); All rights reserved).Portrait of Maharaja Raol Sir Shri Krishna Kumarsinhji Bhavsinhji KCSI (1912–1965), the last ruling Maharaja of Bhavnagar State by Ernst Schaeffer, around 1935 (© Antiquariat Gerhard Gruber (Heilbronn); All rights reserved).Ernst Schaeffer’s photographic documentation of the renovation and expansion of Nilambagh Palace in Bhavnagar, mid 1930s (© Antiquariat Gerhard Gruber (Heilbronn); All rights reserved).Ernst Schaeffer, Juhu (Pictorial Bombay, p. 54; Photo: Margit Franz 2021).Cover of Ernest N. Shaffer’s autobiography Ein Emigrant entdeckt Indien (Photo: Margit Franz 2021).
    Bombay
    Schimmel’s Wedding Film 1948
    Film

    The film shows Schimmel’s Jewish wedding ceremony at the prestigious Glamis Villa, followed by lunch at the Taj Mahal Hotel. Among the guests were Käthe and Walter Langhammer.

    Word Count: 30

    Photo of the newlyweds with wedding gifts, including the Langhammer painting Bombay from the Malabar Hills in the dining room of Glamis Villa, 1948 (© Private Archive Joe Schimmel, Cape Town).
    Schimmel’s wedding film, 1948 (© Private Archive Joe Schimmel, Cape Town; revisions, technical adaptations and simplifications by Martin Schitter; entire film on Vimeo, see link below).Joe Schimmel’s family during the wedding. From left: Kamilla Thenen (groom’s cousin), Adolf and Klara Schimmel (groom’s parents), the groom Joe Schimmel, the bride Eva Ormos and Julius Thenen, 1948 (© Private Archive Joe Schimmel, Cape Town; photo montage from the film by Fredi Kuncio).The Marriage Certificate from the Keneseth Eliyahoo Fort Synagogue, 1948 (© Private Archive Joe Schimmel, Cape Town).The Schimmels at the Bombay Race Course in high society Bombay, late 1940s (© Private Archive Joe Schimmel, Cape Town).The Schimmel couple on vacation in Bad Gastein, Austria, 1951 (© Private Archive Joe Schimmel, Cape Town).Stallion belonging to Joe Schimmel, before 1948 (© Private Archive Joe Schimmel, Cape Town).Langhammer's painting Bombay from the Malabar Hills, n.d. (Photo: Margit Franz, 2010).
    Bombay
    Open Studio Evenings by Käthe and Walter Langhammer
    Salon

    The painter Walter Langhammer and his wife Käthe built an informal infrastructure to promote local avant-garde artists and regularly invited them to Open Studio Evenings at their studio.

    Word Count: 29

    Open evening at the Langhammer’s, from left: Walter Langhammer, unknown woman, Kekoo Gandhy, Wayne Hartwell (American cultural affairs diplomat) n.d. (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).
    Dinner party at the Langhammer’s studio amidst his paintings (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Käthe and Walter Langhammer (far left) attending an Indian dinner, late 1930s/early 1940s (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Opening of the annual Langhammer exhibition by Sir Cowasjee Jehangir in the Convocation Hall, 27 November 1949 (from left: Mr. C.V. Oak, Rani Maharaj Singh, Walter Langhammer, Sir Cowasjee Jehangir, Käthe Langhammer) (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Photography Morning in the Great Mosque in Ajmer (translation by the author) by Käthe Langhammer, Rajasthan, 1940s (© Archive Margit Franz: Langhammer Photo Archive; All Rights Reserved).Käthe Langhammer in South India. They toured all of India for The Times of India Annual. Photo by Walter Langhammer (© Archive Margit Franz: Langhammer Photo Archive; All Rights Reserved).Invitation card for the Langhammers’ farewell party, April 1957 (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Entrance to Langhammer’s residence at 20 Nepean Sea Road (Photo: Margit Franz, 2007; All Rights Reserved).
    Bombay
    Jehangir Art Gallery
    Art GalleryAuditorium HallLibrary

    Efforts to create spaces for the democratic presentation, discussion and reflection of art in Bombay after independence led to the establishment of the Jehangir Art Gallery in 1952.

    Word Count: 27

    Jehangir Art Gallery, 2018 (Photo: Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).
    Jehangir Art Gallery, entrance hall, 2007 (Photo: Margit Franz; All Rights Reserved).Jehangir Art Gallery, entrance hall: Bust of the donor and founder Sir Cowasji Jehangir between his two sons. On the left Jehangir Cowasji Jehangir, who gave the gallery its name; on the right Sir Hirji Jehangir, former chairman of the Jehangir Art Gallery Trust, 2018 (Photo: Margit Franz, 2018).Portrait of Jehangir Cowasji Jehangir by Walter Langhammer (Photo: Margit Franz, 2007).Commemorative plaque (Photo: Margit Franz, 2018).Art education for the masses: Walter Langhammer presents a USIS (United States Information Service) film at Jehangir Art Gallery, Auditorium Hall, 1952 (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz, authorized by the late Kekoo Gandhy; © Gandhy Archive, Mumbai; All Rights Reserved).
    Bombay
    Bombay Art Society
    Association

    One of the oldest art societies in India founded by colonial rulers, Bombay Art Society showcased art students and professional artists from all over India, including the Progressive Artists of Bombay.

    Word Count: 31

    Title page of the catalogue for the Golden Jubilee Exhibition, exh. cat. Bombay Art Society, Bombay, 1939 (© Bombay Art Society, Photo: Partha Mitter 2021).
    Francis Newton [Souza], Prosperity, Cat. no. 17, n.d. and S.H. Raza, Bori Bunder, Cat. no. 65, n.d. Detail of an inside page, exh. cat. The Bombay Art Society, 1947, 21 (© Bombay Art Society, Photo: Partha Mitter 2021).Walter Langhammer, Portrait of Mrs. Shirin Vimadalal, 1939, Detail of an inside page, exh. cat. The Bombay Art Society, 1939, Frontispiece (© Bombay Art Society, Photo: Partha Mitter 2021).Title page of the catalogue for the 57th Annual Exhibition, exh. cat. The Bombay Art Society, December 1947 (© Bombay Art Society, Photo: Partha Mitter 2021).A.J. Patel, Sabita, cat. no.727, n.d. and J.N. Unwalla, Screened, cat. no. 721, n.d. Detail of an inside page, exh. cat. The Bombay Art Society, 1939, 46 (© Bombay Art Society, Photo: Partha Mitter 2021).
    Bombay