Tyeb Mehta, Souza lead auction stakes at Christie`s
New Delhi: The early masters of Indian contemporary art and the progressive group of artists like Tyeb Mehta, F.N. Souza and Akbar Padamsee are high on the auction stakes at the Christie`s sale of South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art in London June 9.
The most significant work which will go under the hammer is an untitled painting by Mehta of a figure sitting on a rickshaw painted in 1984. Estimated at 1,200,000 pounds (Rs.88,630,184), it is one of the key works to have come to the market in this decade, Christie`s said in a statement Thursday.
The sale also includes another rare and early work by Mehta dating to 1961, which was exhibited in a seminal show of Indian Art in 1962, curated by the English art critic George M. Butcher.
The work estimated at 250,000 pounds (Rs.18,468,410) posts the well-known influence that post war master Francis Bacon had on Souza. The demand for Mehta was highlighted this spring when "Bulls", a diptych painted in 2005 set a world auction record at 1.7 million pounds (Rs.125,569,391) at Christie`s in New York.
A selection by paintings by F.N. Souza is another high point of the auction.
After the landmark success of the sale of works from the Francis Newton Souza Estate (an archive of works managed by the family of the artist) in 2010, Christie`s has put 54 selected works by Souza on sale, including 45 from the family archives. The most valuable lot of Souza`s work offered for the first time in over half a century is from the private collection of an English gentleman.
"Landscape", painted in 1958, is the most crucial of the lot painted during the high point of Souza`s career.
The work, a large format painting, illustrates the inherent tension between nature and civilization using savage brushstrokes and a fiery palette. It is estimated at 500,000 pounds (Rs.36,932,174).
Another important lot on sale is an untitled work by Akbar Padamsee painted during the artist`s tenure in Paris in 1955. Sourced from the private collection of the famed contemporary art dealer Yvon Lambert, it is estimated at 400,000 pounds (Rs.29,551,882).
The auction house said "international appeal of this category (early contemporary artists) continues to grow with participation from buyers in Singapore, Hong Kong, UAE, US and Europe". The sale as a whole expects to raise in excess of 4 million pounds (Rs.295,518,823).
Yamini Mehta, director of modern and contemporary South Asian Art at Christie`s, said the focus was on Indian art this year in the international market.
"This sale presents one of the most exciting groups of contemporary South Asian Art ever to be offered in a auction," Mehta said.
"The international art world continues to deepen its interest, understanding, appreciation and support of South Asian artists, with this year`s Venice Biennale featuring the first-ever Indian Pavilion and institutions like the Centre Pompidou currently showing `Paris-Delhi-Bombay...`, featuring three Indian artists while Musee Guimet is holding a solo show of artist Rina Banerje."