Taj Mahal Painting by Charles Bartlett from a Manoa Collection

Taj Mahal Painting by Charles Bartlett from a Manoa Collection

Charles W. Bartlett’s watercolor and pastel painting of India’s Taj Mahal has just arrived at the gallery. This painting, signed and dated 1920, was created in Honolulu from his many sketches of the Taj Mahal during his travels in India. The atmospheric style of the painting as well as the distinct color palette make this a fantastic example of Bartlett’s signature style.  It’s also interesting to note that it is the original of what became “Taj Mahal. Twilight” (page 109, A Printmaker in Paradise), a woodblock print published by Watanabe Shozaburo.  It’s fascinating to see the same image rendered so very differently.

It measures 32" wide by 22" tall in its original rounded-corner frame.  Conservation framing; silk mat, acid-free board, 99% UV filtering plexiglas.


Comment taken from Bartlett's sketchbook (page 11)

The Moon is full.  The domes and minarets catch the last rays of the setting sun.


The composition of the scene reflects the influence of Japanese art and woodblock print styles.  The water in the foreground draws the viewer in, deeper into the landscape. Although he had always been a skilled draftsman, it wasn’t until later in life that he found his own voice as a painter;  a strong classical foundation that was interpreted in the style of the Impressionists and the calligraphic,  atmospheric style of antique Chinese and Japanese paintings.  He even went so far as to distress the surface of this painting in order to give the textural effect he so admired in antique silk paintings.


Bartlett created several images of India, particularly the Taj Mahal, and clearly had a deep love for the beauty of this world wonder. His sketchbooks show that he drew and studied the site from a variety of perspectives. The Honolulu Museum of Art houses Charles Bartlett's sketchbooks, as well as some of his best works. Anna Rice Cooke, the museum's founder, had been a close friend to Bartlett and his wife Kate. Mrs. Cooke amassed a sizable collection of his prints and original paintings during their friendship. The museum's retrospective exhibition in 2001 provided a catalog raisonne that paints a colorful picture of his early career and travels, the death of his first wife in childbirth, and his life after he settled in Hawaii.

From the collection of a distinguished woman of Manoa, Honolulu who authored several studies of Hawaiian life.

The catalog, A Printmaker in Paradise" will be provided with sale.


Sketchbook study for "Taj-Mahal. Twilight" (c. 1914-1915)
Photo from a sketchbook now residing at the Honolulu Museum of Art
(pencil drawing).  Photo courtesy of Darrel Karl.


Example of the woodblock print version of Taj Mahal. Twilight

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