By: S Gopal Puri
Dharamsala (Apr 3): One of the paintings of Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjeet Singh made by great Indian artist Sardar Sobha Singh was auctioned for Rs 1.04 crore Sotheby’s auction house. He had made this painting during his stay at Andreta village near Palampur.
One of the greatest Indian artists of the twentieth century, Sobha Singh was born on 29 November 1901 at Sri Hargobindpur (Gurdaspur), India. It was here where he learned to draw and sculpt. In 1905, his mother Bibi Acchran died. His father Deva Singh died in 1917. He learnt and mastered painting by self practice. In 1919 he was present in Jalianwala Bagh at the time of firing. Later, he joined the British India army as a draughtsman and was posted at various places in Iraq. He studied European paintings and got inspiration from the works of English painters.
Sobha Singh stayed at Andreta village near Palampur for 38 years where he painted all Sikh Gurus. He said, “I have painted Gurus to inspire people”. The painting of “Maharaja Ranjeet Singh”, which was auctioned, was one of the creatures which he made during his stay here. He made this painting in 1978. He died in August 21, 1986, in Chandigarh.
An art gallery is still being run from his home at Andreta, which is managed by his grandson Hardaypal Singh and daughter Bibi Gurcharan Kaur who is also an accomplished artist and teaches painting in the village. Hradyapal Singh said that they were proud of their grandfather and this was a return gift from the divine because he used his art in the worship of Sikh Gurus.