Rajput Nobleman

Historical period(s)
ca. 1630-1640
Ajmer school
Opaque watercolor on paper
H x W (painting): 14.6 × 9.9 cm (5 3/4 × 3 7/8 in) H x W (overall): 31.1 × 22.9 cm (12 1/4 × 9 in)
India, Rajasthan state, perhaps Ajmer
Credit Line
Purchase and partial gift from the Catherine and Ralph Benkaim Collection — funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


India, man, portrait, Ralph and Catherine Benkaim collection

To 1947
Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (1877-1947) [1]

From 1947 to 1972
Rama Coomaraswamy (1929-2006), Greenwich, Connecticut, by gift or inheritance after his father, Ananda K. Coomaraswamy’s death in 1947 [2]

From 1972 to 2001
Ralph Benkaim (1914-2001), Beverly Hills, California, purchased from Rama Coomaraswamy, Greenwich, Connecticut in May 1972

From 2001 to 2018
Catherine Glynn Benkaim, Beverly Hills, California, by inheritance from Ralph Benkaim in 2001

From 2018
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, partial gift and purchase from Catherine Glynn Benkaim


[1] Rama Coomaraswamy was the son of Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, an important figure in the field of Indian and Sri Lankan art history. Coomaraswamy was largely responsible for providing the conceptual structures through which South Asian art became studied and valued in India and in the west. Because A.K. Coomaraswamy spent the second half of his life in the U.S., it is highly unlikely that any art from his personal collection would have a contested provenance.

[2] According to information from Catherine Glynn Benkaim.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Ralph (1914-2001) and Catherine Benkaim
Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy 1877-1947
Rama Coomaraswamy 1929-2006
Catherine Glynn Benkaim


Against a deep chocolate ground scattered with massive flowers, a Rajput nobleman stands in profile holding a bouquet that conveys his refinement. He wears a diaphanous jama of fine muslin over yellow churidar pants. The prototype for a portrait in this style was imperial. Mughal artists produced portraits of Rajput noblemen for imperial albums, and as gifts. The relatively unmodulated forms, the chocolate ground, and the large flowering plants that surround the thakur are evidence of local production, perhaps in Ajmer.

Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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