Tyeb Mehta, Khoj, Pakistani art to lead Christie`s Asian sale

New Delhi: The annual sale of South Asian modern and contemporary art June 11 in London by Christie`s will be led by an iconic art work by Tyeb Mehta, `Mahisasura` painted in 1996, rare paintings by a group of Pakistani artists, and photographs by Indian lensmen under the Khoj portfolio.

The sale is estimated at £1.8 million, Christie`s said in a statement Wednesday.

The auction will offer on sale Indian modern masters and distinguished contemporary artists, "epitomising the creative vitality of art rooted in rich and diverse traditions," the auction house said.

Yamini Mehta, senior specialist and director of South Asian modern and contemporary art, said: "Christie`s is delighted to offer the seminal painting by Tyeb Mehta, one of the best works to come to the auction."

Mehta said the "auction was the most varied in the category to date, in terms of prices, with estimates ranging from £1,500 to £1.8 million."

The mediums featured include paintings, collage, neon, sculpture and photography, she said. "We welcome collectors of all ages to explore and celebrate the field of South Asian art," Mehta said.

The South Asian modern and contemporary artists whose works will go under the hammer include Tyeb Mehta, Syed Haider Raza, M.F. Husain, Bharti Kher, Shezad Dawood, Thukral and Tagra, and Jagannath Panda, among others.

Emphasising the growing interest in art from the region, Mehta said the sale also featured a "special selection of Pakistani art as well as contemporary photographic works".

One of the highlights in the modern masters` section is "Cinq Sens" painted by M.F. Husain in 1958. The auction house said the work has been acquired from the collection of renowned Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini and his Indian Bengali wife Sonali Dasgupta. The work is estimated at £500,000.

The painting was gifted by Husain to Rossellini, who left India "with his new found love, his wife, awareness and creative consciousness".

The auction will also bring out rare works by modern Pakistani artists from the private collection of Julian Sherrier. One of the highlights of sale from the collection is "Untitled" - a 1965 black and white composition by Anwar Jalal Shemza (1928-1985), who exhibited his work in "Migrations", a showcase at the Tate in London in February.

The work is estimated at £3,000, Christie`s said.

Some other important works at the auction point to the influence of Indian miniatures in the works of Pakistani artists. These ionclude "Dying Miniature" painted in 2008 by Muhammad Zeeshan (estimated £7,000), "Untitled-Rustam Series" painted by Khadim Ali in 2011, "A New Degree of Separation/Togetherness" by Talha Rathore in 2005 (£5,000), and "Divided" by Aisha Khalid (estimated £4,000).

The auction will also offer on sale striking new age works of British-Pakistani artist Shezad Dawood such as his neon calligraphy (estimated £12,000) and Rashid Rana`s "Veil III."

In 2011, the Whitechapel Gallery in London mounted an exhibition, "Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh". The auction will feature many works from artists who exhibited at the Whitechapel.

The section, however, is anchored by the "The Khoj Portfolio, 2007" - with works by a group of 12 whimsical self-portraits by leading contemporary artists - originally sold to raise money for the non-profit artists` residency, Khoj in India.


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