AstaGuru, Winter Online Auction, Masterpieces, Modern Indian art, Tushar Sethi, MF Husain, Ram Kumar, Anjolie Ela Menon, SH Raza, Tyeb mehta, Akbar Padamsee

AstaGuru’s forthcoming online auction features masterpieces and rare works of modern Indian art

Several outstanding works will be making their auction debut

Building on the success of its No Reserve Online Auction of modern Indian art in June, AstaGuru, India’s premium auction house, will showcase an opulent facet of Indian Modernism through a comprehensive collection of masterpieces and rare works in its upcoming Modern Indian Art Auction on July 15-16, 2020. The auction catalogue has been carefully curated and includes iconic artworks that shine a spotlight on the path-breaking vision of the doyens of Indian modernism.

The auction further presents an extraordinary opportunity for collectors to acquire several remarkable works that will be making their auction debut. Out of a total of 50 lots, 56% of the works have never been auctioned before and will be offered for the first time through AstaGuru’s catalogue.

Tushar Sethi, CEO, AstaGuru, said, "Our primary objective while compiling the Modern Indian Art catalogue was to showcase the versatility of Indian modernism. Presenting a comprehensive catalogue is always a challenge given the scarcity of important works. However, our upcoming sale offers several works which have never appeared in an auction before. I’m confident that the selected works will intrigue the imagination of art enthusiasts. We eagerly look forward to our upcoming masters main sale on 15th-16th July, 2020.”

The online auction is led by Tyeb Mehta’s Situation, a significant expressionist work, which provides a glimpse into the artist’s early explorations with form, colour, and the human figure. This large-scale work (Lot 22) was painted by the artist in 1963 while he was living in London and was influenced by artists such as Francis Bacon and the literary works of writers such as Gide and Sartre. The impasto expressionist style and the use of sombre colours in the present lot is in accordance with the prevalent approach at the time of its creation, yet the work retains the iconographic elements that Tyeb Mehta had innovated. Estimated between Rs 3.5-4.5 crore ($ 476,190 - 612,245), this iconic painting comes from an important period in the artist’s oeuvre and acts as a precursor to the distinctive style he developed in his later years.

Appearing at auction for the first time, SH Raza’s Jala-Bindu, is a triumph of Indian modernism, which is estimated at Rs 3-4 crore ($ 408,163 - 544,218). SH Raza’s Gorbio studio was located in close proximity with The French Riviera (Côte d'Azur), a place well known for its colour gradient, pristine coastline. The colour composition adopted by the artist is a testament of the inspiration he extracted from his natural surroundings, which in the present lot (Lot 25) is The French Riviera. Unlike his other works where the surface is segregated with panel like formations, in this work, the Bindu radiates beams of energy that converge and reflect back from points that extend beyond the stretched canvas. It is also plausible to imply that the colours that adorn the work are a direct reflection of the grandeur of water in its natural state.

The auction features two more significant works from Raza’s Bindu series, Lot 16 (Bindu, 1995) and 46 (Pancha-Tatva, 1997). These works will be offered alongside two early works by Raza from the ‘50s, which in comparison to the Bindus represent two very different points in his career and enable us to understand his development as an artist. Lot 33, titled Village, and Lot 34, titled Temple, are estimated between Rs 1.65-1.85 crore ($ 224,490 - 251,701) and Rs 75-85 lakh ($ 102,041-115,646), respectively.

Ram Kumar’s In Search of Lost Times, is a monumental oil-on-canvas painted in 1992. The artist’s landscapes have always been an extension of his inner contemplative thoughts. This large composition is one-of-a-kind for the artist and resonates with his unique style. The work (Lot 41) was exhibited during Ram Kumar’s retrospective that took place at NGMA, New Delhi, 1993. This will be the lot’s first appearance at an auction, estimate at Rs 2.5-3.5 crore ($340,136-476,190). 

Lot 26, Landscape, estimated at Rs 2-3 crore ($ 272,109-408,163), is an early work from 1962, which signifies Akbar Padamsee’s transition to a more vibrant colour palette after creating a set of grey works in the late ‘50s. His past experiments with a grey overtone are however still evident in this work, which features different hues of the colour. Lot 18 (first time in an auction) is another important work from Padamsee’s famous Metascape series; painted in 2008, the work is estimated at Rs 1.2-1.4 crore ($ 163,265-190,476).

Several exceptional works by MF Husain also feature in this auction. Lot 40, Untitled (Horses), circa 1990, a large acrylic on canvas estimated at Rs 1-1.5 crore ($ 136,054-204,082), will enter the auction market for the first time. MF Husain was undoubtedly enamoured by the aesthetic beauty of the horse. Over a span of seven decades, MF Husain created numerous masterpieces and gained reputation for his interpretations of his beloved motif.

Another important motif synonymous with Husain’s oeuvre is Mother Teresa. MF Husain began depicting visuals of ‘Mother Teresa’ in the year 1980; the said series is amongst his most revered. Through this series he showcased the profound impact the saint had on his life and work. Lot 27, Untitled (Mother Teresa), will make its auction debut with an estimate of Rs 70-90 lakh ($ 95,238-122,449).

AstaGuru’s selection of modern Indian art also includes Family, an oil-on-Masonite board with jharokha by Anjolie Ela Menon.  Estimated at Rs 60-80 lakh ($ 81,633-108,844), this unique work (Lot 50) features characters which have the penchant of Menon’s distinct figures; furthermore, the addition of the jharokha imbibes the work with a rustic aura. A highlight among the sculptures in this auction is Meera Mukherjee’s Untitled bronze (Lot 35) estimated at Rs 10-15 lakh ($ 13,605-20,408). One of India’s most revered female sculptors, Meera’s works are influenced by tribal art. The artist trained with the tribal artists of Bastar in Chhattisgarh to master the technique of Dhokra casting. This interaction germinated a steady visual flow of tribal designs as seen in the presented lot.

The auction will take place online on on July 15-16, 2020. The entire auction catalogue can be viewed on AstaGuru’s website:

July 1-16, 2020
11.30 am - 7.00 pm
Institute of Contemporary Indian Art (ICIA)
ICIA Building, Rampart Row
Next to Rampart House, Kala Ghoda
Mumbai - 400 023

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