*13. ROERICH, NICHOLAS (1874-1947)
Kulu Valley, from the "Kulu" series, numbered "N63" and dated 1928-29 on the stretcher.
Tempera on canvas, 33 by 41 cm.
Provenance: Roerich Museum, New York, USA, 1927-1935.
Collection of Luis and Nettie Horch, New York, USA, until 1957.
The Dr Carlos Giro collection, USA.
Acquired from the above.
Private collection, New Jersey, USA.
Literature: Roerich Museum Catalogue, New York, 1st Edition, 1930, p. 37, No. 980.
A. Yaremenko, Nicholai Konstantinovich Roerich, His Life and Creations During the Past Forty Years, New York, Central Book Trading Co., 1931, p. 287.
In late December of 1928 the Roerichs settled in Naggar, Kullu valley, where the artist spent the last nineteen years of his life. This painting is one of the first of numerous Kullu landscapes. Roerich loved the valley and was proud of its historical heritage. He writes about it as "the ancient place" where "the banks of river Beas have been mentioned in connection with Rishi Vyasa, the compiler of Mahabharata, and also with Alexander the Great, whose army did not venture pass this mountain stream. Through here laid the paths of Buddha and Padma Sambhava, here lived Arjuna and other Pandavas."
The mood of this painting is different from the mountain landscapes of previous years. After three years of journeys throughout Asia and crossing Mongolia and Tibet from north to south, Nicholas Roerich has finally found a permanent home. His beloved mountains are still here, but they are not the most dramatic, bigger-than-life peaks of the highest places on earth. The slopes of the Kulu valley are gentle and relaxing, the blues meditative. The patches of snow scattered around the mountain slopes suggest that the painting documents the valley's transition into spring. Roerich was also beginning a new period in his life and painting style.
The Kulu series, ten paintings in total, was brought by the artist to New York in the summer of 1929. The works were first exhibited in the new building of his museum, which opened on October 17, 1929.
We are thankful to Gvido Trepљa, Senior researcher at the Nicholas Roerich Museum, New York, for providing catalogue information