Mumbai, November 25, 2014
Tyeb Mehta's 'Falling Bull'
Fine arts auction house Christie's second auction in India will take place on December 11 in Mumbai, featuring, among other items, one of V S Gaitonde's last works and early works by artists like S H Raza, Tyeb Mehta, Frances Newton Souza and Ram Kumar.
Ten works donated by leading Indian contemporary artists will be sold to support Khoj International Artists' Association, a press release from Christie's said today.
The auction will also offer works by other renowned artists such as the Tagores and Jamini Roy.
Artists such as Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher are among those who have donated works for Khoj, the artist residency programme established in India in 1997.
The auction will also include significant works and items by some of India's designated National Treasure artists, which are considered of such importance to the cultural development of India that they cannot leave the country, the release said.
The auction will take place on December 11 at 7 pm at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai with a pre-sale viewing open to the public, from December 9-11. A selection of works will also be publicly previewed in New Delhi at The Taj Mahal Hotel from November 28-30.
"Our first auction held here a year ago was a great success, and once again we have worked hard to curate a sale of the highest quality with an offering that covers India's most important modern and contemporary art movements. Along with the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, our Mumbai sale will act as a finale to a year which began with the successful annual India Art Fair in Delhi, and was highlighted by the opening of the V.S. Gaitonde retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in October. It has been a great year in which many have come together from around the world to shed new light on Indian art and culture," Sonal Singh, Head of Department, Mumbai, said.
She said Christie's is delighted to have been asked to support all three initiatives.
Tyeb Mehta's (1925-2009) painting Untitled (Falling Bull), in which his mastery of composition and economy of line is evident, will lead the sale.
Showing the central figure of a bull on a rickshaw set against blocks of vivid color, it showcases Mehta's recurring motif: "For me, the trussed bull is a compulsive image". The 1999 canvas is estimated at Rs 8,50,00,000-12,00,00,000 ($1,385,500-1,956,00), the release said.
One of the last works by the internationally recognized artist Gaitonde (1924-2001), for sale just six weeks after the opening of a retrospective of his work at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, will be another highlight of the auction. Offered by a private collector in India, it was painted in 1998, the last year he is known to have worked and only a few years before his death. Painted in vibrant hues of green, this painting is expected to sell for Rs 5,50,00,000-7,00,00,000 ($896,500-1,141,000) and has never been offered for sale at auction before, it said.
A remarkable pocket book belonging to the artist, Nobel Laureate, poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) is a most unique addition to the sale. The journal, written in Bengali in Tagore's hand, is a rare mixture of poetry, art and introspection. Covering the years 1889 to 1904, the pages reveal the private concerns of Tagore, from mundane land transactions and taxation, to a poem written as a guide for children learning to read. The book was given by Tagore to a teacher at Santiniketan, Subodh Chandra Mazumder, and is being offered by his descendants.
Tagore composed many of his major poems and songs in this book, including poems from the Sonar Tari( Golden Boat) series and 19 poems from the Swaran series. Nothing similar by the Nobel Laureate has been offered before for sale at auction in India, (estimate Rs 40,00,000-60,00,000 / $65,200-97,800).
Early works by four of the masters of Indian modernism, Raza, Ram Kumar, Souza and Mehta, all of whom studied or practised art in Europe, reflect their engagement with western modernism. A family portrait by Souza (1924-2002) from 1947 is being offered for the first time at auction, (estimate: Rs 4,60,00,000-6,20,00,000 / $750,000-1,010,600). It depicts a poor, half-clad family of four sitting in front of a house in which one or more of them are probably employed. Through the window a table is laden with fresh fruit, fish and wine, a striking contrast to their circumstances. In letters, Souza confirmed that he had considered an alternative title, 'The Proletariat and the Plutocrat's Dinner'.
Mehta's Girl in Love, from 1957, which will be offered at an estimate of Rs 70,00,000 - 90,00,000 / $114,000-147,000 is a tender portrait and a magnificent example of the artist's early work, complementing his Untitled (Falling Bull).
A view of Parisian rooftops from the 1950s by Raza (b. 1922) Les toits de la rue St. Jacques, is estimated at Rs 3,00,00,000-40,00,00,000 ($489,000-652,000 ).Finally Ram Kumar's Orphans, showing two destitute young men, painted in 1956 soon after his return from Paris, is estimated at Rs 2,25,00,000-2,75,00,000 ($366,800-448,300).
A small group of rare, unseen canvases and works on paper from the 1970s by Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) are offered for sale from the collection of Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry, theatre artist, and close friend to the artist.
The release said works would be of special interest given their provenance and following the recent exhibitions of Mohamedi's work at the Tate Liverpool in the United Kingdom and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in New Delhi. The artist, well known as India's great modern minimalist, studied in London at St. Martin's School of Art and then in a print atelier in Paris. She settled in Bombay and was mentored by V.S. Gaitonde before moving to Delhi and then to Baroda, where she taught at the M.S. University's Faculty of Fine Arts. Here the two canvases and three other works on paper reflect, in their great simplicity, Mohamedi's lifelong dedication to minimalism, in her art and other aspects of her life (estimates from Rs 18, 00,000 / $29,300).
Just as a major exhibition of the work of Atul Dodiya (b.1959) opens at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum in Mumbai, his Untitled portrait of Picasso from 1981 (estimate: Rs 4,00,000-6,00,000 / $6,500-9,800) and a later work from 2011 (sold to benefit Khoj) will be offered in the Mumbai auction.
Offered alongside the modern art is a group of 10 contemporary works by artists including Subodh Gupta, Rashid Rana, Mithu Sen, Thukral & Tagra, Nilima Sheikh and Bharti Kher, to benefit the Delhi based Khoj International Artists' Association. All the artists have donated works to Khoj exclusively for this sale, the release added.
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