From Raja Ravi Varma and Tyeb Mehta to Subodh Gupta:
Big Names and Bigger Masterpieces lead Saffronart’s 200th Auction
24 May 2018: Saffronart’s upcoming Summer Online Auction marks an important milestone for India’s leading auction house. With its 200th auction, Saffronart consolidates eighteen years of expertise and leadership in pioneering art sales in India and abroad. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the auction house presents 150 exceptional works of modern and contemporary Indian art. The artists represented span the evolution of the Indian art scene from the pre-Independence period to the present day, illustrating over a hundred years of art history. Each work epitomises the achievements of these artists, and has been chosen bearing in mind its provenance and historical contribution to Indian art.
“Saffronart’s 200th auction presents an outstanding collection of modern and contemporary Indian art. From royalty to influential theatre directors, art critics and artist estates, the varied provenances underscore the significance of the lots on offer. Our collective goal is to build a stronger and more vibrant market for Indian art, and the collection on offer is testimony to this commitment. We would like to thank our collectors, consignors, gallerists, artists and fellow art-lovers for their support and encouragement, which has helped us get to where we are, and we look forward to their continued partnership in our efforts.”
—Dinesh Vazirani, CEO and Cofounder, Saffronart
Tyeb Mehta’s rare and iconic Kali (1989), one of only three standing figures, leads the auction at USD 3–4 million (INR 19.5–26 crores). Saffronart first revealed the cover lot on 24 April, attracting headlines that drew attention to the artist’s enduring popularity among art connoisseurs.
A 1965 Untitled canvas by V S Gaitonde, estimated at USD 800,000 – 1.2 million (INR 5.2 – 7.8 crores), is among the top lots, and is one of his most important works from this decade. Raja Ravi Varma’s Untitled (Shiva) is a rare representation of Shiva as Dakshinamurthy. It was painted in 1903 towards the end of the artist’s illustrious career, and is estimated at USD 461,540–769,235 (INR 3–5 crores). A large, ochre canvas by Manjit Bawa is estimated at USD 500,000 – 700,000 (INR 3.25 – 4.55 crores). S H Raza’s Paysage Provencal – I (Cagnes), 1951, stands out for his the mastery over composition, and is estimated at USD 200,000–300,000 (INR 1.3–1.95 crores). Other notable modernists include Nandalal Bose, Gaganendranath Tagore, Mahadev Visvanath Dhurandhar, Amrita Sher-Gil, Anjolie Ela Menon, Ram Kumar, Akbar Padamsee, N S Bendre, F N Souza, Bhupen Khakhar, Arpita Singh and Zarina Hashmi.
A strong sculpture section includes works by Himmat Shah, Sankho Chaudhuri, Prodosh Dasgupta, Meera Mukherjee, S Dhanapal and Piraji Sagara, who was represented at Art Dubai earlier this March. These artists are renowned for their bold experimentation and sensitive approach to the process of creating sculptures. Apart from these leading names, the auction also draws attention to less well-known artists whose work left a mark on the modern Indian art scene, thus diversifying the collection.
The contemporary section includes twenty-three works by the foremost practitioners in the field. The highlight of this section is Hungry God (2005-06), a large installation of stainless steel vessels by acclaimed contemporary artist Subodh Gupta. Gupta’s first retrospective solo exhibition in France, Adda / Rendez-vous, was unveiled in April 2018 at Monnaie de Paris, reinforcing his strong international presence. Further highlights include works by Anju Dodiya, Jagannath Panda, Justin Ponmany, Thukral and Tagra, N S Harsha, Alwar Balasubramaniam, Dhruvi Acharya and Rina Banerjee.
The auction will take place on saffronart.com and is preceded by viewings of select lots in New Delhi, London and Mumbai. All lots can be viewed on the website.
13-14 June 2018 on saffronart.com
7– 19 May 2018
11 am – 7 pm, Monday to Saturday
11 am – 4 pm on Sunday (by appointment)
Saffronart, The Oberoi
Dr. Zakir Hussain Marg
New Delhi 110003
29 May – 14 June 2018
11 am – 7 pm, Monday to Saturday
11 am – 4 pm on Sunday 10 June (by appointment)
Saffronart, Industry Manor, Ground Floor
Appasaheb Marathe Marg, Prabhadevi, Mumbai 400025
7 – 14 June 2018
11 am – 7 pm, Monday to Friday
11 am – 3 pm on Saturday
Sunday by appointment
73 New Bond Street, 1st Floor
London, W1S 1RS
Founded in 2000 by Minal and Dinesh Vazirani, Saffronart is a leading international auction house with deep Indian roots, and is India’s most reputed. It is headquartered in Mumbai, with offices in New Delhi, London and New York. At the forefront of selling Indian art, Saffronart holds online and live auctions, exhibitions, and prime property sales throughout the year. Saffronart’s focus is to bring transparency to the auction process, and to provide easy access to bidders around the world. Saffronart has so far seen successful sales of over 20,000 artworks and objects across various categories.
Saffronart’s services go beyond auctions to include private sales, art storage, appraisals and valuations for our clients, and supporting the efforts of the Indian art world by holding fundraiser auctions. Saffronart has set several global benchmarks for online auctions, and was the subject of a case study at Harvard Business School in 2005.
Website: www.saffronart.com | Facebook: @saffronart | Instagram: @saffronartartindia
For further information contact:
Benjamin Bamnolkar | firstname.lastname@example.org | +91 9820888743
*All Images courtesy of Saffronart
Tyeb Mehta’s rare and iconic Kali, one of only three standing figures, leads the auction. The painting was once part of the art collection of the eminent and influential theatre director, Ebrahim Alkazi. Art, drama, theatre, and compassion come together in this powerful painting of a blue Kali, which embodies Mehta and Alkazi’s shared sensitivity about the human condition.
V S Gaitonde, whose deeply meditative paintings resonate with collectors and intellectuals around the world, features among the modernists leading this sale. The present lot is composed of translucent washes of beige and white, and is one of his most important works from the 1960s. Gaitonde’s paintings from this decade have achieved unusually high prices at auction; in September 2017, Saffronart offered a painting from the same time period which sold for close to INR 20 crores, earning a place among the five most expensive paintings by the artist to be sold worldwide at auction.
In this painting—a rare representation of Shiva—Ravi Varma depicts Dakshinamurthy, a divine teacher of spirituality and yoga, who imparts knowledge and wisdom of a cosmic scale. In his specific interpretation of Shiva, the artist retains some of his iconographic features, such as his third eye, the crescent moon and the snake, against the backdrop of Mount Kailash. The painting was bequeathed to the present owner by his grandfather who, in turn, received it from the Nizam of Hyderabad in the 1940s.
In this painting, an ochre canvas of epic proportions, Manjit Bawa depicts a prowling lion and a supine blue-skinned ascetic. Mythological themes and allegory recur in Bawa’s works. His deep knowledge of religious texts and literature, as well as the history and tales of bravery from the Sikh tradition, inform his repertoire.
This work on paper stands out for Raza’s early mastery over precise delineation and composition. Painted a year after Raza moved to Paris, it was widely lauded in the French press and singled out for its unique portrayal of Provence. It was exhibited in February 1952 at Galerie Saint-Placide, pushing the young artist into prominence. Another painting from this period—Haut de Cagnes (1951)—sold at Saffronart in February 2014 for INR 5.75 crores.
In 1965, early in his career, Khakhar worked on collages which included elements of symbolism and rituals associated with different religious practices. In this work, Khakhar alludes to a temple by enclosing a vermillion-coloured representation of a temple deity within neatly defined colour blocks. Such abstract and modern works, rooted in referenced traditions, brought Khakhar considerable recognition in later years.
Goa Landscape, painted in a large, horizontal format is a rare work by Ram Kumar. Goa does not feature too often in Kumar’s work, which was dominated by his commitment to exploring the complexities of Benaras. The painting is from the collection of Dirk and Hixe Angelroth, both cosmopolitan world travellers who acquired this painting at a solo exhibition of the artist’s work in Mumbai in the 1970s.
Classic Metascape, painted by Akbar Padamsee in 1961, presents a richly layered, imagined landscape which defies space and time. The second painting, a luminous metascape from the 1990s, was part of Padamsee’s solo exhibition, Mirror Images, at Pundole Art Gallery in 1994.
The contemporary section features two works by Subodh Gupta. Untitled (2005) was previously exhibited in New Delhi, New York and Singapore. With an overflow of stainless-steel utensils forming a monumental wave, Hungry God (2005-06) inspires awe through its sheer scale. The installation is important in Gupta’s body of work, and has been previously exhibited in New Delhi, São Paulo in Brazil, Melbourne in Australia, and Derbyshire in the UK.
Jagannath Panda’s work frequently highlights the complex relationship between the natural and the manmade, the traditional and the modern, raising questions about our collective and increasingly endangered future. Panda’s subjects, as seen in Migrant Anywhere Anytime-III, are often animals lost in an urban wasteland, representative of the experience of displacement.
Anju Dodiya’s diptych has been previously exhibited at the Laxmi Vilas Palace, Vadodara, and Bodhi Art, Mumbai.