This Article First Appeared In Scroll.in On October 11, 2022
One sweltering summer in the mid-1980s, two German backpackers were compelled to stop over in Jodhpur in order to purchase rail tickets to Bikaner. To pass the time as they waited for their train, the travellers set about exploring the city’s built heritage. The Umaid Bhawan Palace made a particular impression on the young men, enough that they set about looking up its architectural and design history, going so far as to write to Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur to allow them to conduct research on site. In 1989, one of them, Claus-Ullrich Simon, finally obtained an invitation.
The art at the palace included murals and paintings based on Hindu epics and the ruling dynasty’s lore rendered in the European style of the early decades of the 20th century. The artworks were signed by one Stefan Norblin, about whom no further information was available at the time..