Manohar Kaul (born 1925) was a well known Kashmiri artist . His deft brushwork brought alive the splendor of Kashmir on the canvas. He was also one of the first Indian artists to have performed spectacularly well in the prestigious City & Guilds Institute London University Examination in Painting; he secured a First Grade (equivalent to First Class).
The idyllic Kashmir of Manohar Kaul Paintings
This former President and Chairman of All-India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS) was always very consciously responsible about the depiction of his motherland, Kashmir, in his paintings. He was particularly conscious about the depiction of tension and violence in his paintings. He avoided any reference to the insurgency and unrest in them. When he was accused of being an escapist because of this very attitude he responded by saying- 'I want to show everyone how beautiful Kashmir was. Only then will they get the strength to change it.'
A synthesis of styles
Manohar Kaul had the rare ability to evaluate contemporary art trends in the light of the earlier arts. In his paintings we see an effusive blend of the Ancient, Folk, Mughal, Pahari, Rajasthani paintings with the western impressionist style.
To depicter of small things
His landscape paintings were mystical studies of a land of immense beauty. He captured the gravity of the sights that sprawled in front of him. Which is why he sought realization in not the larger views of things but in the delimited ones. In his painting the smaller things were given their due respect- close-ups of stone and crystals; moss covered rocks; pristine glaciers; a sliver of white in a gray stone; the juxtaposition of a bright red flower against a dark brown rock; slices of sky; sharp lines of narrow gorges; the white mist enveloping the unidentifiable landscape; the interplay of light on the surface of a brook; lingamlike stalactite formation and of course snow blanketed sleepy valley- nothing escaped the artists discerning eye.
Renowned poet, Keshav Malik says of Manohar Kaul paintings-
There is a singer at the heart of the old earth.
and that: ever the sun shimmers upon inland peaks and lakes
the moon waxes silver in his dark wake;
there is some one, a spirit, whose joy is the infinite...