Over 750 objects from 5,000 years of art spanning all epochs and categories of Asian art from Chinese archaic bronzes through Japanese and Korean art to modern and contemporary Indian painting, will go under the hammer in a series of auctions at the Asian Art Week by auction house Christie’s in March in New York.
Of the seven auctions, at least three include Indian works of art, including a significant painting by the pioneer of Indian modernism Tyeb Mehta, titled ‘Confidant’ and painted in 1962 (estimated to fetch between Rs 4.34 crore – Rs 5.79 crore).
According to the auction house, important Gandharan sculptures from a private Japanese collection, including a magnificent 3rd to 4th-century gray schist figure of Buddha Shakyamuni among the highlights. “From rare huanghuali furniture to a collection of works by respected artist and teacher Benodebehari Mukherjee, treasures from every category of Asian art wait to be discovered.”
In the ‘South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art’ auction on March 17, early works of Tyeb Mehta (Confidant, 1962) and Francis Newton Souza (Family, 1946) are included. Also included are exceptional examples by modern masters Maqbool Fida Husain, Sayed Haider Raza and Narayan Shridhar Bendre. Also featured is a fine group of paintings by Krishen Khanna from the collection of Arthur and Lilly Banwell.
A diverse contemporary section includes impressive prints and a sculpture by Zarina, and significant works by the region’s most renowned practitioners like Atul Dodiya, Anju Dodiya, Ranjani Shettar, Jitish Kallat and Subodh Gupta, to name a few.
Part two of the same auction includes a significant collection of works by Benodebehari Mukherjee (1904-1980) from the Mrinalini Mukherjee Foundation. Ethereal landscapes by this pioneer of modern Indian art are complemented by a group of figurative works and nature studies representing every phase of his career. Particularly important are collages, sketches and prints from the final stage of his life, executed after the artist’s complete loss of eyesight.
On the same date, the ‘Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art’ sale will present 58 lots featuring works from across India, the Himalayas, and Southeast Asia. Highlights include a rare Chola-period bronze figure of the Shaivite saint Sambandar and a well-published folio from the dispersed ‘Lambagraon’ Gita Govinda series attributed to the Kangra court artist Purkhu.
Christie’s also says that it continues to leverage digital tools to extend access to key bidding areas and provide global audiences with opportunities to view auctions.
The ‘South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art Online’ auction from March 4-18, also aims to “celebrate a wide variety of artistic practices from the South Asian subcontinent and its diaspora across the 20th and 21st centuries”, says Christie’s.
The online sale includes excellent modern works on paper by artists Maqbool Fida Husain, Francis Newton Souza, Manjit Bawa, Prabhakar Barwe and Jogen Chowdhury, alongside those by their mentors and pioneers of regional schools like Abdul Rahman Chughtai, Walter Langhammer, Nek Chand, Kamrul Hasan and Chittaprosad Bhattacharya. Rounding out the catalog is a section of exceptional works by modern Pakistani artists and contemporary works by artists including Surendran Nair, Nilima Sheikh, Arpana Caur and Paresh Maity.