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Oleographs of Raja Ravi Varma
Oleography was a technique used for large scale quality color printing. It is litho printing (printing with stone) but with more color palettes, using large number of stones. Use of oil gave the prints more quality (oleo in latin means oil). Modern oleography popular in those times was based on methods invented by George Boxter, a British printing expert in 1835. Later at the end of 19th century, with new methods of color printing started in western countries, this method became less popular in Europe but started becoming popular in India.

To print copies in large numbers Ravi Varma started press in Ghatkopar, Mumbai in 1894 from where first oleograph 'Birth of Sakunthala' was produced. The press was shifted to Malavli near Lonavala, Maharashtra in 1899 from where thousands of Oleographs, Lithographs and Lithoprints were produced. Later the press was sold to his printing technician from Germany, Mr. Schleizer, in 1901. The press was destroyed in fire and closed down after some years.

Since Oleography was in infant stage in India, many of the prints came out of Ravi Varma Press were not of impressive quality compared to his oil paintings. Many art critics criticized his paintings evaluating only the oleographs, not original oil paintings.

Online Gallery with some selected Oleographs of Raja Ravi Varma





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