Paul Gerhardt

Paul Gerhardt was one of the very first people to produce artist-signed postcards in India. As chief lithographer at the Ravi Varma Press, he arrived in Bombay with the press machinery in the early 1890s. The working language at the Press was German, and lithographers at the time were highly trained technicians and artists. Gerhardt was a painter as well, at times working with the Varma brothers whom he befriended and was admired by (as the younger Varma's diaries record). These postcards, which can be firmly dated to a contract and some of which are signed and dated in 1899, were his own work. Some may date to 1898, and some are not signed but likely from similarities in style and backs to have been drawn and produced by him at the Press.

Bear-Leader (Darweshi)

Bear-Leader (Darweshi)

A very early lithographed card by Paul Gerhardt, who ran the lithographic printers at the Ravi Varma Press.

Sent to Miss Ettoi Virmillion, 52 West & South, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, via San Francisco: [Recto] "Bombay 22 March 1905. Very bare. Will"

Tanjore dancing girl

Tanjore dancing girl

Among the first series of postcards printed in India by The Ravi Varma Press, this lithograph by the German artist at the Press, Paul Gerhardt, shows how in these very early days, placing the title was not quite fixed by convention, It could easily

Native Street

Native Street

Unlike many photographic postcards that emphasized the crowded nature of Bombay bazaars at the turn of the century, Gerhardt opens up the foreground in this painted depiction to create a more spacious and effect.

Hindu Temple

Hindu Temple

An early lithographic postcard, and among the rarer ones, by the artist Paul Gerhardt. It was printed in Karli, outside Bombay, at the Ravi Varma Printing Press where Gerhardt worked as a lithographer.

Snake Charmer

Snake Charmer

Snake charmers are one of the most common early Indian postcard subjects, and this must be one of the earliest and most beautiful such views. Note the clever use of the palm backdrop to create the illusion of depth, and the rich use of red.

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