Saturday, 30 May 2015 09:00

Indian artists prominent in Bonhams upcoming blockbuster South Asian Sale

Lot 28 Gaitonde Lot 28 Gaitonde

Art auctioneers Bonhams announces a stellar line up of not to be missed sale for art connoisseurs scheduled to start at 14.30 PM on 11 June 2015 at New Bond Street, London.

Indian art sales have seen back to back success in both London and New York says the latest media information of Bonhams and now they are following it up by announcing the  Bonhams' Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art Sale which will take place on 11 June 2015, at New bond Street London.

The much awaited sale will include 45 exceptional works from an enviable roster of Indian and South Asian modern masters, including SH Raza, Francis Newton Souza, MF Husain, Bhupen Khakhar, Jamini Roy, KG Subramanyan,Krishen Khanna and VS Gaitonde. In addition the auction will include an impressive selection of contemporary works from celebrated artists such as Nalini Malani, Bhupen Khakhar and Rashid Rana. Many of the works come from private collections with estimates ranging from £1,500 to £60,000 ($94,000).

One of the star lots of the sale is a series of Vasudeo S. Gaitonde drawings. Compositions 1-6  (lot 28 to lot 32, estimate between £20,000 - £35,000 each) exemplify Gaitonde’s masterful depiction of the relationship between linear form, light, and colour. These six ink-on-paper drawings were originally acquired by Morris Graves alongside two oil-on-canvas paintings, which were recently sold at Bonhams New York in September 2014 (Untitled 1961 for $1,068,000 and Untitled 1963 for $1,200,000).

Krishen Khanna’s Untitled, Female figure (lot 21, estimate £15,000 - £20,000) painted in 1958, in the final years of his banking career, is a rare insight into the early stages of Krishen Khanna’s artistic output. Awarded the Rockefeller Fellowship in 1962 and subsequently the Lalit Kala Academy National Award and the Fellowship of the Council of Economics and Cultural Affairs New York, both in 1965, Khanna was instantly recognised as a pivotal figure in Indian art.

Other highlights include a selection of early works by M.F. Husain. Untitled, Self Portrait (lot 18, estimate £40,000 - £60,000)  which was conceived against the backdrop of a post partition landscape. The socially fractured environment reignited the question of identity. In this work, a hand in the centre of the torso gestures the peaceful kapithaka mudra and Husain himself stands broad shouldered partially enclosed by a rectangular outline of what may be a mirror. This self-portrait, never before seen at auction, is a serene and personal insight into the artist. The oil on canvas piece, Untitled, Horse (lot 20, estimate £40,000 - £60,000), in excellent condition, depicts one or possibly two rearing horses. The vibrant yellow horse in the background appears to be a metaphysical rearing form, an ephemeral being. Both are magnificent and noble. The horses embody Husain’s own rising ambitions and his determination to achieve them. Theatrical and striking, this work is the quintessential Husain painting.

​A founder of the Progressive Artists Group, Francis Newton Souza was a creative genius, whose artistic career spanned five decades and three continents. Characterised by his distinct powerful lines and bold, provocative compositions, his paintings are simultaneously imbued with a sense of raw energy and beauty. Lots 10, 11, and 12 (estimate between £1,500 - 3,000 each) are a testament to this minimal yet emphatic use of line. Originally acquired directly from the artist, who was a close friend of the family, this is the first time these ink on paper works are being presented for sale.

Following his success at the 56th Venice Biennale (in the collaborative exhibition My East is Your West), another outstanding lot is Rashid Rana’s Offshore Accounts-1 (number one of an edition of five) - a chromogenic print, diasec mounted and comprising of four parts (lot 47, estimate £30,000 - £50,000).

The Offshore Accounts seemingly depicts a sea of opportunity, but upon closer inspection the water is made up of accumulated rubbish. From a distance the image is beautiful, the waves are gentle and serene; the specks of debris and white foam of the waves however are formed of piles of light coloured plastic bags. European paintings of voyaging ships interject the seascape, as both a nod to the periods of colonial exploration and acknowledgement of the damaging legacy left behind. 

Tahmina Ghaffar, specialist for Modern and Contemporary South Asian art says this about the upcoming sale “We are delighted to be able to put together such a comprehensive South Asian Modern and Contemporary art sale. There is already great interest, not just in the Gaitonde series, but right across the full spectrum of modern and contemporary artists represented at this auction. Bonhams has had two very successful Indian sales this year and we are looking forward to deepening our engagement with the Indian art scene with what is billed to be one of the most exciting auctions to date” 

The auction will begin at 14:30 on 11th June 2015, at Bonhams London Headquarters at 101 New Bond Street. The online catalogue is available here.

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. For more information, visit bonhams.com.

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