Shimla: A portrait of Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh made by celebrated artist Sobha Singh will go under hammer in the US in March, an official of Singh`s art gallery said Friday.
The painting has been listed for auction at the renowned New York-based auction house Sotheby`s March 24.
"We received a communication from Anuradha Ghosh-Mazumdar, assistant vice-president of Indian and Southeast Asian Art at Sotheby`s that the painting of Maharaja Ranjit Singh by Sobha Singh will be featured in the auction," Hriday Paul Singh, general secretary of Sobha Singh Memorial Art Society in Kangra, told IANS.
The Feb 22 e-mail communication said the work was acquired privately by the client, who is now selling it through Sotheby`s. The artist`s signature on the lower left side of the canvas is now worn.
Paul, who is a grandson of Sobha Singh, said the auction house has listed the painting for $300,000-$400,000.
The oil-on-canvas portrait is 39 by 29 inches in size. The Sobha Singh gallery has its replica, he added.
The gallery, visited by around 25,000 art lovers every year, is located in the picturesque Andretta village near Palampur in Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh, some 250 km from Shimla, where Sobha Singh spent 38 years.
According to Sotheby`s catalogue preview, the portrait shows the Maharaja seated on a lion-crested silver throne wearing a richly brocaded coat and a jewelled turban, his sword resting on his lap.
Sobha Singh, whose 110th birth anniversary falls Nov 29, 2011, achieved acclaim for his strikingly beautiful paintings, particularly after he made in 1969 the portrait of Guru Nanak Dev for the 500th birth anniversary of the first Sikh master.
The artist made Andretta his home, and painted over 50 portraits of freedom fighters, including Bhagat Singh in 1981.
The government of India conferred Padma Shri on him in 1983.
"The government should do something to get his work back to the country," Paul added.
Sobha Singh, who died in Chandigarh Aug 22, 1986, at the age of 85, left behind more than 2,000 works of his art.