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Upcoming Collectors Choice Auction features rare masterpieces by leading Indian modernists

Several key works will also be featured in the auction such as the collection of Davida & Chester Herwitz, the important patrons of Indian art, supporting the modern movement in India at its very conception.

SNS | Kolkata |

AstaGuru’s upcoming Modern Indian Art- ‘Collectors Choice’ online auction will present bidders with an extraordinary opportunity to acquire numerous masterpieces and rare compositions.

Although the works of the members of the Progressive Artist Group are most wanted, collectors who want to diversify their collections with works of other celebrities across the spectrum of Modern Indian art can hardly find picks in the upcoming auction. All the lots which are presented in the auction are offered without any reserve. INR 20,000 is the bidding range for all artworks.

A broad range of 160 exceptional lots will be included in the auction by eminent names in the modern landscape of India such as M F Husain, Amrita Sher-Gil, F N Souza, Ram Kumar, V S Gaitonde, S H Raza, Krishen Khanna, Sakti Burman, Jehangir Sabavala, Anjolie Ela Menon, G R Santosh, Biren De, T Vaikuntam, Ganesh Pyne, KG Subramanyan, Nasreen Mohamedi, Sunil Das, K K Hebbar, Bikash Bhattacharjee, and many more.

Sneha Gautam, Vice President- Client Relations, AstaGuru, said, “AstaGuru’s ‘Collectors Choice’ segment has quickly developed into one of the most anticipated auctions in our annual auction calendar, with each sale receiving an overwhelming response from collectors. The format has allowed us to present a broader perspective of Indian modernism by offering works across varied price points and ones that have been part of noteworthy collections. The auction offers several rare gems stretching the gamut of Indian modernism from M F Husain’s – Homage to C V Raman – an abstract series celebrating the renowned Indian physicist, to Anjolie Ela Menon’s inimitable take on Pieta – a subject touched upon by artists over centuries. The auction also features sculptures from leading artists including Somnath Hore, Prodosh Das Gupta, and P V Janakiram.”

The sale has a lead which is lot 156, S H Raza’s, Bindu acrylic on canvas work from 1982. It is quite synonymous with modern Indian art. Raza did experiments with several modernist styles in his illustrious career but is best known for his series named Bindu. The presented lot has an estimation of INR 80 lakhs – 1 crore (US$ 111,111 – 138,889) and has connotations related to the Indian philosophy of being the point of all the creation – the source of space, cosmos, time, and consciousness. He created and developed numerous masterpieces with the motif of Bindu, which is the central theme of the composition. Presently these outstanding works became pivotal acquisitions in some of the essential artworks in India and across the world.

Several key works are served in this auction including one of India’s prolific and celebrated colorists, M F Hussain. Bidders are offered a comprehensive view of the excellence of Hussain, by the exceptional works that are part of this curation and also his insatiable will to dabble with a range of techniques, styles, and themes. A family portrait by him is lot 148, Family, acrylic on canvas. The unique factor in this artwork is the artist has included himself in the composition. Next to the unfinished piece, the catalogue also portrays an image of the painter while he was still working on it. This rare lot has an estimation of INR 80 lakhs – 1 crore (US$ 111,111 – 138,889) which will surely make a very fine acquisition for the followers of Hussain.

Among the important works, one of the mentionable is lot 160, a set of two abstracts titled ‘Homage to CV Raman’ circa 1987 with an estimation of INR 10 – 15 lakhs (US$ 13,889 – 20,833). Husain takes a detour from the paintings he is famous for and pays homage to CV Raman, an Indian physicist known for his groundbreaking work in the field of Physics, with ‘the Raman effect’ and the first Asian to win the Nobel prize in the field of science, in these unique canvases. A different side of the artist has been showcased in these rare works who was addressing the matters of the world in his canvas.

An Untitled, 1987, nude portrait of a woman (lot 136) by F N Souza, estimated at INR 30 – 40 lakhs (US$ 41,667 – 55,556) has also been featured in the auction. In the presented lot Souza frames the beauty of the female form with utmost subtlety and grace unlike many of his head paintings and portraits, which are heavily composed of his unrestrained and graphic style. The auction also showcased an early Untitled, nude work by the artist from 1950, estimated at INR 6 – 8 lakhs (US$ S 8,333 – 11,111). Souza’s treatment of the female body is being influenced by his study of primitive Indian culture and sculptures in the current lot (lot 58), yet the subject’s face takes on more of a European influence.

With an estimate of INR 40 – 50 lakhs (US$ 55,556 – 69,444) Anjolie Ela Menon, Pieta, 1996, oil on masonite board, will be featured in the auction. Menon captures the moment when Jesus was taken down from the cross but instead of mother Mary in this extraordinary work (lot 121). She shows him taking a rest in Mother Teresa’s arms. She captures both the subjects in her different figurative style and transforms a theme that has been recreated over the centuries by artists.

Ganesh Pyne’s work a tempera on canvas from 2004 titled ‘The Gardener’ will be auctioned with an estimate of INR 40 – 50 lakhs (US$ 55,556 – 69,444). A bust atop a raised platform made of bricks placed in front of a large tree has been featured in this highly detailed work (lot 72). Pyne had drawn this with his personal experience of agony and solitude that he endured early on in his childhood, which he executed in his distinct style of work. His works always have an over-looming sense of darkness and death. It also lends an exceptional quality to them in terms of linework and overall execution. The works of this artist have been highly searched after at auctions with works witnessing increasing demand with every sale.

With a different taste, KG Subramanyan came up with a rare large-scale work executed with oil on a cloth, which is Lot 66, Untitled, circa 1960. His work has been inspired by several sources of Indian tribal art, indigenous Bengali artistic traditions, folk symbolism, and elements of European modernism like cubism. The artist depicted children, women, animals, and objects inheriting from rich resources of mythical fables and personal memories, with vibrant colours playing on the canvas to showcase magical realism. The lot has been estimated at INR 20 – 30 lakhs (US$ 27,778 – 41,667).

At an estimate of INR 40 – 60 lakhs (US$ 55,556 – 83,333), Manjit Bawa will be offering Lot 48, Untitled (Man), circa 1980 in the auction. The very work will be featuring a play on colour tones syncing the background with each other at Manjit Bawa’s signature style. Its single feature composition is another attribute of his work. With an estimation of INR 10 – 15 lakhs (US$ 13,889 – 20,833), another imperative work that will be showcased is J Swaminathan’s seminal Untitled, oil on canvas from circa 1960. This outstanding work has already been published and has been a part of several exhibitions.

Several key works will also be featured in the auction such as the collection of Davida & Chester Herwitz, the important patrons of Indian art, supporting the modern movement in India at its very conception. From the collection of M F Husain, Shamshad Husain, K Laxma Goud, and Sohan Qadri, important works will be showcased in the auction.

An impressive array of sculptures are also included in the auction by leading names such as Prodosh Das Gupta, P V Janakiram, Himmat Shah, Sadanand Bakre, Satish Gujral, Somnath Hore, K Laxma Goud, Krishen Khanna, Ram Kumar, and many more.

The Modern Indian Art – Collectors Choice auction, is going to be held online on 20 – 21 November 2021, and the entire auction catalogue can be seen on AstaGuru’s website,

(With inputs from IANS)