Artists Sketching the Urban Landscape
Surprisingly, it took time for artists to come to Nepal. Otto Eglau, a German painter born 1917 in Berlin, came to Nepal with a scholarship granted by the German Cultural Institute in 1970. A year later, Jörg Schmeisser, another German artist, born in 1942 in Stolp, passed through Kathmandu (1971), sketching impressions in Bhaktapur and Kathmandu which he later worked into two etchings that present the townscape and the overwhelming variety of sculptural detail in a synoptic fashion.
In October 1971, March 1972 and both April and November 1973, Konstanty Gutschow, born 1902 in Hamburg, was the first architect to capture the townscape of Newar cities with his pencil. Klaus Kunzman, born in 1942, followed in 1982. Both published their sketches in limited editions to be presented to a circle of friends – a widely practised custom among architects at the time. Horst von Bassewitz (born 1932), another architect from Germany, came to Nepal in 1990, rapidly scribbling down his impressions (as he himself described his sketching technique). Werner Durth (born 1949 in Mengeringhausen), likewise an architect from Germany who first came to Nepal in 1970, returned in 1988 and 1991 to capture the townscape of the Darbar Squares with his ballpen.
Leonhard Stramitz, an artist from Vienna (born in 1945) who first came to Kathmandu in 1970, transformed scale drawings of caityas into highly artistic graphics in the late 1980s. Two non-academic artists were fascinated by Nepal and left a large corpus of drawings and watercolours. Both of them were born in Asia and probably from the outset were dedicated to capturing the experience of the eye on paper. Lily Eversdijk Smulders (born 1903 on Java) came to Nepal three times between 1959 and 1961 to prepare over a hundred portraits mostly of Tibetan refugees, who came pouring into the Kathmandu Valley in 1962.
Demond Doig (born 1920 in Calcutta) was not an architect but a journalist and designer. As such, he tremendously enjoyed sketching scenes from the urban environment, an activity he had engaged in ever since he first came to Nepal in 1954. At quite a different level, Rolf Klünter (born 1956 in Bürvenich near Cologne) spent some fifteen years in Kathmandu painting on Lokta paper and creating painted objects of terracotta or coloured paper. He came here first in 1988 and was associated with the Campus of Fine Arts as a lecturer for a period of six years. On a different level again, architect Wolfgang Rang (born 1949 in Essen), who has been coming to Nepal since 1986, started to paint “Red” on Lokta paper as of 1990.