Virtual Landscape of Art Galleries

AstaGuru will present Collectors Choice: Modern Indian on June 25 - 26, showcasing a well-curated line-up of works

Virtual Landscape of Art Galleries
Virtual Landscape of Art Galleries
Indrishka Bose - 09 June 2021

The art galleries are now gradually opening a virtual door to the bidders. Despite a massive change brought by the pandemic, modern art remains the proverbial jewel in the crown for art collectors with consistent demand for masterpieces.

AstaGuru has witnessed this trend, along with an increase in first-time bidders indicating significant interest among new collectors as well. It will present the Collectors Choice: Modern Indian on June 25 to 26, showcasing a well-curated line-up of works.

The auction will present 120 lots without a reserve price, and more than 50 per cent will be appearing for the very first time.

“This auction enables a collector to own a rare piece of work that represents significant milestones in the artists’ distinctive careers at a no reserve price, presenting a great opportunity for anyone looking to own a masterpiece. It also allows seasoned collectors to enhance their collections of some of the great masters with unique gems, from their artistic oeuvre, some which have been purchased directly from the artists by the seller,” commented Sunny Chandiramani, Vice President - Client Relations, Astaguru.

Some of the key highlights of the auction include, “Ivory Eyes” (Lot 29) an enamel on canvas work by Prabhakar Barwe from the year 1976, which is also the cover lot of the auction catalogue. Estimated at Rs 20 - 30 lakh ($28,169 – 42,254),Barwe’s paintings emerged from the perfect conjunction of form, space, and mystery, creating a new pictorial association. A symbolist abstractionist, from the JJ School of Art, Barwe’s paintings reflect the voyage he undertook in search of pictorial purity and balance.

M F Husain’s Untitled (Lot 88) from his “Calcutta Series” a large acrylic on paperwork, circa 1990 pays homage to one of his favourite cities, Kolkata, and demonstrates his love and bond with the city. Estimated at Rs 20 - 30 lakh ($28,169 – 42,254), the auction debut is borne out of Husain’s admiration for the people of Kolkata, their inclination, and their ability to appreciate art. Making its auction debut, this artwork has been previously exhibited as a part of ‘Calcutta 300 - From Job Charnock's Kolikata to Satyajit Ray's Mahanagar’ at Tata Centre, Kolkata, 1990 and ‘Calcutta 300: M F Husain’ solo exhibition at Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi, 1994 - 1995.

MF Husain also marks its presence in an auction for the first time as a rare set of four untitled works, (Lot 109). This set of four watercolors on mount board lots is accompanied by a set of four limited-edition posters, 1985, which are based on the presented artworks. The artwork was acquired from the collection ofa prominent collector from Kolkata who sourced these unique works directly from the artist.

Another key highlight of this auction is Untitled, (Lot 102) oil on canvas by Jagdish Swaminathan from his signature ‘Bird Tree and Mountain Series’. Created in 1983, this series translates the artist’s affinity towards etching a pictorial representation of form, in its purest and most refined state. To frame his images as part of this series, he encountered and processed phenomena in their virginal state. Estimated between Rs 40 – 60 lakh ($56,338 – 84,507), this particular work, which is executed with a bright red background, showcases his inspiration and intention to preserve and present formal qualities of Indian miniatures.

Ram Kumar’s Untitled (Lot 113) is another important oil on canvas work from the year 1999 that is also making its auction debut. Estimated at Rs 40 – 50 lakh($ 56,338 – 70,426), this is an important figurative work from the master who is generally associated with abstraction.

A well-known master from the Progressive Artists' Group (PAG), F N Souza will present ‘Fan Dancer’(Lot 110). It is an oil on canvas,1962, from a very significant period in the artist’s career and this painting has been part of prominent exhibitions in New York, India as well as in London. Estimated at Rs 80 lakh – 1.20 crore ($ 112,676 – 169,014), this work is one of the most coveted pieces featured in the auction.

Also marking its presence in an auction for the first time is S H Raza’s, ‘Nidhi’, (Lot 117) an acrylic on canvas painting, from the year 1990, estimated at Rs 80 lakh – 1.20 crore ($ 112,676 – 169, 014). Known for his mastery of geometric designs, Raza brings together fluidly the five key symbols of fire and water, earth, wind, and sky. Governed by the essence of equilibrium, he yearned to realise the characteristics of colours and shapes, thereby striking a balance between the space that they occupied in tow with their seminal properties. This lot is anticipated to be highly sought after in this auction.

The auction will also include multiple significant and rare works by the greats from the Bengal School of Art including Jamini Roy, Gaganendranath Tagore, and Nandalal Bose, Jogen Choudhury also works by distinguished artists such as Ganesh Pyne, Amrita Sher- Gil, K.H Ara, Anjolie Ela Menon, K.K. Hebbar, Krishen Khanna, K. G. Subramanyan, Akbar Padamsee, Lalu Prasad Shaw, and manyof them appeared in an auction for the first time.

The virtual world has been our playground for a long period now, said Siddanth Shetty, V.P. Business Strategy & Operations, AstaGuru.

"AstaGuru has been operating solely on the digital platform since our inception, that being from the year 2008. We have never operated with an orthodox approach however having said that the auction market was inclined towards migrating to an online module prior to the current shift in trend as observed since many international auction houses were already conducting auctions online prior to 2019," he added.

The lots will start at an opening bid of Rs 20,000.

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