G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Monday, May 30, 2016

राणीला गरज राजाची...Dinanath Dalal@100

Today May 30 2016 is 100th birth anniversary of Dinanath Dalal (दीनानाथ दलाल), one of the finest artists produced by 20th century India

मनोहर  महादेव  केळकर, संस्थापक-संपादक, वाङ्मय-शोभा, जुलै  1951 :

"...वाचकांना  सुंदर  तिरंगी  चित्र  आणि  तेहि देखण्या  स्त्रीचे  हवे असते …"

Jill Lepore, 'The Secret History of Wonder Woman', 2014:

“...Later, it seems, Marston made another suggestion. What if Wonder Woman were to look more like a Varga girl, one of the pin-up girls drawn by Alberto Vargas that appeared every month in Esquire (a magazine Marston regularly wrote for). The Varga girl, introduced in Esquire in October 1940, was long-legged, slender, and open-mouthed. She wore her hair down, her nails polished, her legs bare, and barely any more clothing than what a swimsuit covers. Wonder Woman, with her kinky boots, looks as though she could have been on a page of Esquire’s annual pin-up calendar. The Varga girls were just this side of allowable, by the standards of the 1940s: in 1943, the U.S. Post Office declared that Esquire contained material of an “obscene, lewd, and lascivious character.”21 Wonder Woman would run into the same kind of trouble...”

S. J. Joshi (श्री. ज. जोशी), 'Vangmay Shobha' (वाङ्मय शोभा), October-November 1963:

[Notice a reference to Dalal edited magazine "Deepawali" (दीपावली ) in the above]


जी.ए. कुलकर्णी: 
"… प्रथम म्हणजे मुखपृष्ठावरील दलालांचे चित्र मला आवडले नाही. ते मुद्दामच घुम्या रंगात काढलेले Tour de force चित्र आहे की कांय कुणास ठाऊक. पण काश्मीरमधील एखाद्या जुन्या वाड्याच्या भिंतीवर काढलेल्या चित्राप्रमाणे हे मलिन वाटते. जेथे हिरवा निळा रंग आहे तोही रंगाच्या वाट्या धुतल्याप्रमाणे वाटतो. मग Yellow Ochre सारखा मुळातच गद्य रंग पाहायलाच नको… हे असे का? नाहीतर दलालांची चित्रे रेखेचे सौष्ठव व रंगाचे तारुण्य यामुळे कशी प्रसन्न वाटतात…"
(जी.एं ची निवडक पत्रे खंड 2, 1998, संपादकीया निवेदन, पृष्ठ 11)


I have said many things about Dalal on this blog and on the Facebook page I have created (2179 LIKES as of today).

In the very first post on Dalal, on June 3 2011, I quoted Vasant Sarwate's (वसंत सरवटे​) essay that argued that Dalal wanted to focus more on classical art but did not quite accomplish it....

I don't know what to make of that argument today but I feel Dalal as a visual artist is popular next only to perhaps Raja Ravi Varma​ among Marathi speaking people. Although not every one knows that it's drawn by Dalal, his picture of Shivaji's court must be as popular as Mr. Varma's painting of goddess Lakshmi!

This is Dalal's achievement: he was truly PEOPLE'S ARTIST. If he had focused on the art only for selling, he could have made millions more but instead chose to reach more and more people. And while doing it never compromised on the quality of his drawings....something like Raj Kapoor​'s cinema from 1950's.

I am invoking the name of Mr. Kapoor deliberately because both of them captured women's sexuality in a beautiful manner. Mr. Kapoor became vulgar occasionally after his parting with the late Ms. Nargis in the late 1950's but no one could accuse Dalal of that.

I am thumbing through a book called 'Erotic Comics: A Graphic History Volume 1', 2011 by Tim Pilcher.

"It was during the 1930s that the giants of the pin-up world—Alberto Vargas, George Petty, Gil Elvgren, Earl Moran, Peter Driben, and Billy DeVorrs—began to hone the craft that would make them some of the most popular artists in America in the ’40s.

While many continued working on advertising assignments and calendars, more and more began to turn to the men’s magazines as a source of income. The “slicks,” with their full color, glossy covers, proved more than adequate for the numerous artists as the demand for glamorous gals on covers and in center spreads became insatiable.

The artists who worked on these stunning paintings very cleverly walked the razor’s edge of “innocent erotica,” producing paintings that, while certainly sexually arousing, also remained socially acceptable—not unlike a milder form of the Japanese shunga prints of the 18th century."

Innocent erotica! I  like the phrase and I think it does describe aptly a part of Dalal's work...But I am not seeing this 'admission' in any Marathi article.
Please refer to my earlier post dated January 3 2016.  After writing that post, I got to read another article on Dalal here.  

First of all I was surprised that the author does not refer to Vasant Sarwate's (वसंत सरवटे) article on Dalal. I have not come across a better article than that on Dalal.

Secondly I am confused by the following claim in the article:

"...त्या काळातील आणखी एक गाजलेले चित्रकार म्हणजे रघुवीर मुळगावकर. त्यांच्या चित्रांतील स्त्री प्रतिमा या काहीशा पुष्ट, अंगािपडाने सुदृढ असायच्या. त्या वेळच्या समाजातील सौंदर्याच्या कल्पना या सुदृढतेकडे झुकणाऱ्या होत्या. त्याचेच प्रतिबिंब हे मुळगावकरांच्या चित्रांमध्ये पाहता येते. तर शरीराची प्रमाणबद्धता हा दलालांच्या चित्रांचा गुणविशेष होता. काही चित्रांमध्ये असलेल्या प्रमाणबद्धतेमुळे किंवा छातीवरच्या दिसणाऱ्या घळीमुळे काहींनी त्यांच्यावर अश्लीलतेचा आरोपही केला. पण ही चित्रे व्यवस्थित पाहिली तर त्यात स्त्री प्रतिमेच्या विविध भाववृत्ती याच अधिक प्रभावी असल्याचे लक्षात येते. त्यात अश्लीलतेचा मागमूसही नाही. यातील स्त्री- पुरुष प्रसंगी मीलनोत्सुक वाटतीलही. त्यात उत्कटताही आहे, पण ते कामोत्सुक नाहीत..." 

I don't quite know the difference between 'मीलनोत्सुक उत्कटता' (ardent, usually sensual, longing) and 'कामोत्सुक' (lustful/ horny)!

Why not just say that some of Dalal's pictures were "innocent erotica"? I find some of them erotic and I am grateful to Dalal for giving me that pleasure. 

Following are two pictures by aforementioned artist: Gil Elvgren (who was influenced by Charles Dana Gibson who probably, as I claimed earlier, influenced Dalal!)

Picture on the left (or first below) is titled 'Fresh Lobster',1952 and the one on the right (or second below) is 'Jill needs Jack', 1950 

 
courtesy: the current copyright holders   



 Artist: Dinanath Dalal, cover of Marathi magazine "Deepawali" (दीपावली), April 1970

....this picture can be named "राणीला गरज राजाची" (Rani needs Raja), a la "Jill needs Jack"!

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