Grosvenor Gallery

Olivia Fraser: Indian Summer

Hosted by: Grosvenor Gallery


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What's On / Past exhibitions / Olivia Fraser: Indian Summer

Past Exhibition Information

May 19, 2021 - May 23, 2021

Gallery 10

Grosvenor Gallery

A solo exhibition of works by Olivia Fraser featuring recent miniature paintings with gem-like stone colours, unique miniature brush work, and elaborate decorative and burnished surfaces applying a traditional Indian technique.

Grosvenor Gallery is delighted to present, ‘Olivia Fraser: Indian Summer’. The exhibition will feature a selection of Olivia’s latest body of works, all executed in the past year during her time spent between India and the UK. Being in and out of lockdown, Olivia turned to and found solace in nature. Whether it was among the blossoms of the Amaltas trees or the bounty of sweet Indian mangoes, the spiritual connections associated with nature provided a “boon to the soul and a pleasure to the senses signalling a hope for the future.”

“I painted these works during the first lockdown in India, just as the summer heat was notching up into the early forties (degrees). As a Northern Scot, even after all these years in Delhi, I find extreme heat challenging, but when the Amaltas trees (the Indian laburnum) burst into bloom in May, their golden boughs light up and lift the streets of Delhi out of their hot torpor.” - Olivia Fraser, April 2021

These works will be on display for the very first time at Cromwell Place. Olivia will be present for the duration of the exhibition. The Amaltas trees and mangoes depicted in ‘Indian Summer I and II’ are a reminder of the summer season in India and the joy the season can bring. “I watched the Amaltas tree outside my studio window come into its sunshine bloom over the course of the weeks that I was painting this.” Olivia’s continued interest in yoga, the different visualizations used in meditation and nature itself (an inner and outer vision) have also influenced these new works. In Bloom, she has depicted a blue Lotus flower in the middle surrounded by two golden bees. The lotus flower has ancient sacred associations within the art of India. As a flower that blooms out of the mud, it is associated with purity, perfection, resurrection and spiritual growth. The lotus along with the colour blue are both used to depict Lord Krishna in Hindu mythology. In Sun and Moon, Olivia has reflected the idea of the micro within the macro and captured the essence of the infinite with the use of fractal like imagery. For further information on her recent works please visit the Viewing Room.

To celebrate this year's major Eileen Agar retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery, The Redfern Gallery have invited five contemporary artists, including Olivia to respond to Agar’s work. Olivia’s works will be on display at the Redfern Gallery, London from 17 May – 27 July 2021.


About the Artist

Olivia Fraser (b. 1965)

After graduating with a MA in Modern Languages from Oxford, Olivia spent a year at Wimbledon Art College before moving to India in 1989. Since then she has had numerous single and group shows in the UK USA, India, China and Nepal. She has also illustrated her husband, William Dalrymple's books, in particular 'City of Djinns'. She has written and illustrated a children's book for an Indian NGO that promotes childhood literacy: "Made in India" published by Pratham. She teaches a bi-annual miniature painting course in Jaipur.

Olivia Fraser first came to India in 1989 and had her first show in Delhi in 1991. Following in the footsteps of her ancestor, James Baillie Fraser who painted India, its monuments and landscape in the early 1800s, Olivia set out to continue where her ancestor had left off, painting the architecture of India and its people. James Baillie Fraser also commissioned local artists to paint what has become the famous 'Fraser Album' - the greatest masterpiece of Company School Painting portraying the different types of people and their jobs, crafts or castes against stark white backgrounds. This hybrid form of painting where Indian artists created something that mixed techniques and ideas from the East and West has greatly influenced Olivia's work during the 1990s.

Since then, she has studied the traditional Indian miniature painting technique under Jaipuri and Delhi masters, and now uses this in her work with its gem-like stone colours, its unique miniature brush work, and its elaborate decorative and burnished surfaces. Having been especially influenced by Nathdwara pichwai painting in recent years, Olivia has been exploring its visual language, honing it down to create one of her own that seeks to convey the very essence of the Rajasthani tradition. 

Her works are in public and private collections all over the world including India, Australia, Singapore, UK, Belgium and USA. Her recent book 'A Journey Within' was published by HarperCollins India in 2019.

To celebrate this year's major Eileen Agar retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery, The Redfern Gallery have invited five contemporary artists, including Olivia to respond to Agar’s work (Agar happens to be Olivia’s great aunt). Her works will be on display at the Gallery in May 2021 and will also be shown during the Cromwell Place reopening in May 2021. 


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About the Hosts

Grosvenor Gallery

Grosvenor Gallery

Established in 1960, Grosvenor Gallery, held its first premise on Davies Street. It was the largest gallery in England at the time.

The gallery went on to exhibit some of the major European artists of the time - some for the first time in London such as Magritte, Picasso, Sironi, Chagall, Lissitzky and Archipenko.  Grosvenor Gallery also represented an impressive group of young artists such as Michael Ayrton, Jack Smith, Prunella Clough, John Hoskin and Karl Weschke. Estorick also added the already well-known artists Francis Newton Souza and Paul Feiler.

Apart from Western European art, the Gallery was the principal outlet in the West for modern art from Eastern Europe. It also sold works by living Soviet artists, which was a major accomplishment for a Western gallery. Furthermore Estorick championed several South African artists notably Irma Stern, Feni Dumile and Sydney Kumalo.

Since then the Gallery has continued to exhibit modern and contemporary South Asian art, predominantly the work of mid-20th century Indian modernists such as the Bombay Progressives, as well as Chughtai, Gulgee and Sadequain from Pakistan. Their contemporary program includes exhibitions of work by Rasheed Araeen, Faiza Butt, Olivia Fraser and Dhruva Mistry amongst others.