Artists Sketching the Urban Landscape

Surprisingly, it took time for artists to come to Nepal. Otto Eglau, a German painter born in Berlin in 1917, came to Nepal with a scholarship granted by the German Cultural Institute in 1970. A year later, Jörg Schmeisser, another German artist, born in Stolp in 1942, passed through Kathmandu in 1971, sketching impressions in Bhaktapur and Kathmandu. He later turned these sketches 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 in Hamburg in 1902, 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, aGerman architect born in 1932, came to Nepal in 1990, rapidly scribbling down his impressions (as he himself described his sketching technique). Werner Durth (born 1949 in Mengeringhausen), another  architect from Germany,first came to Nepal in 1970 and later returned in 1988 and 1991 to capture the townscape of the Durbar Squares with his ballpen.

Leonhard Stramitz, an artist from Vienna (born in 1945) who first came to Kathmandu in 1970, transformed scale drawings of chaityas 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 in Java) came to Nepal three times between 1959 and 1961 to prepare over one hundred portraits of mostly Tibetan refugees who came pouring into the Kathmandu Valley in 1962.

Demond Doig, born in Calcutta in 1920, was not an architect, rather 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. Additionally, 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.




Werner Durth | Keshav Narayan Chowk
Joerg Schmeisser | Nepal etching
Konstanty Gutschow | Bhimsen Mandir
Horst Bassewitz | Bungamati