BONER, Alice

BONER, Alice. Legnano, Lombardy 22.7.1889 — Zürich 13.4.1981. Swiss Artist (Sculptor) and Art Historian of India. Born in Italy of Swiss-English parents, engineer Georg B. and Alice Kathrine Brown, received training in sculpture and painting in Basel, Brussels and Munich. Worked in Zürich and 1928-35 in Paris, travelled in Tunisia and Morocco. In 1926 in Zürich she became acquainted with Uday Shankar and with him visited India in 1929. Back in Paris in 1930 she became co-director of Uday Shankar Company. In 1936 she parted from U.S. and settled in Varanasi, where she spent most of the rest of her life, studying Indian art and literature. Now she turned from sculpture into painting, and used it to convey her idea of India and her involvement in Indian thought. She was, especially after a visit to Elura in 1947, one of the very few Western painters truly influenced by genuine Indian art. Her theories, presented in her book 1962, she was soon capable to verify from Orissan palm-leaf MSS. Now she left painting and devoted to research. In 1978 she fell ill and left India. Died in Switzer­land. Hon.Dr. 1970 Zürich. Padma Bhushana 1974.

Publications: “The Theatre in the Jungle”, Indian Arts and Letters 7, 1933, 37-45; “Kathakali”, JISOA 3, 1935, 61-74; “The Symbolic Aspect of Form”, JISOA 17, 1949, 42-50; “The Mystery of Sacred Architecture”, JOR 34-35, 1964, 33-40.

Principles and Composition in Hindu Sculpture, Cave Temple Period. 260 p. 25 pl. Ld. 1962.

ed. & transl. with S. R. Sarma: Śilpa Prakāśa. Medieval Orissan Sanskrit Text on Temple Architecture. 223 p. 102 fig. 73 pl. Ld. 1966.

– “Zur Komposition des Śiva Naṭarāja im Museum Rietberg”, ArtAs 27, 1964-65, 301-310; “Sandhikāgama on Pañjaras”, ALB 31-32, 1967-68, 113-124; “Economic and Organizational Aspects of the Building Operations of the Sun Temple at Koṇārka”, JESHO 13, 1970, 257-272; and a few further articles.

with S. R. Sharma: New Light on the Sun Temple of Konarka. Four unpublished Manuscripts relating to Construction, History and Ritual of this Temple, Transl. and Annotated. Varanasi 1972.

with B. Bäumer & S. R. Sarma: Vāstusūtra Upaniṣad. The essence of form in sacred art. 214 p. Delhi 1982.

Indien, mein Indien. Tagebuch einer Reise. 176 p. Zürich 1984.

Boner, G., L. Soni & J. Soni (ed.), Alice Boner Diaries, India 1934–1967. 300 p. New Delhi 1993.

Sources: L. Dosch, Web HistLexSchweiz; Wikipedia; B. Bäumer (ed.), Rūpa. Pratirūpa. A. B. Commemoration Volume. 220 p. 13 ill. N.D. 1982 (with life and bibliography in 8 p. by A. Würfel).

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