Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Economic Times : Bonhams art auction gets an Indian shade


[ FRIDAY, MAY 18, 2007

KOLKATA: Famed UK auctioneer Bonhams is heading for another sale of Indian art in London on May 21. The auction of Indian lots is pegged at a total estimated value of £2,305,900-3,107,500. The spread of Indian lots is somewhat close to 139. There are additional 13 Pakistani lots, taking the total number up to 152.

Among the high value lots is the 60s Husain work ‘Two Women with Elephants’, which is estimated at £1,50,000-2,00,000. The painting is from a private German collection. In step is the Tyeb Mehta’s ‘Thrown Bull’ from the Nuffield College, Oxford collection which also shows an estimate of £1,50,000-2,00,000. Another Nuffield College collection is FN Souza’s 1961 Italian townscape which is valued in the range of £120,000-180,000.

At the same time, another Souza titled Caribbean Palms, painted in 1968, carries a price tag of £1,20,000-1,50,000. Bonhams, which is famous for its Souzas, has yet another major work by the artist, a 1957 Head. The work is from a private UK collection and originally from Gallery One and reflects an estimate of £1,20,000-1,50,000. The 1970 ‘Jagdish Swaminathan Mountain and Bird’ is placed at an estimate of £150,000-1,80,000.

In the medium value lots is MF Husain’s 1960s ‘Figure’, which is estimated at £50,000-70,000 while B Prabha’s ‘Girl Standing By A Hut’ is valued at £25,000-35,000. Included in the basket of lots are also two Sadanand K Bakre landscapes from a private UK collection which are slotted at estimates of £25,000-30,000 and £20,000-30,000. Sourced again from private UK collections are a large Jamini Roy piece titled Musicians priced at £30,000-40,000 and KK Hebbar’s ‘Himalayan Landscape’, which is estimated in the band of £25,000-35,000.

According to Claire Penhallurick, head of Indian and Islamic art at Bonhams, the auction underscores the auction house’s emphasis on works from private UK sources. “The auction has a very good selection of works, numbering 21, by Jamini Roy. There are also some interesting earlier works, before the more familiar modernist Progressives, by Hebbar and Langhammer,” Ms Penhallurick said.

She went on to add that four lots by Bakre, including the two mentioned above, “whose works have appeared almost exclusively at Bonhams sales, is a hitherto strangely under-appreciated member of the Progressives”. Summing up, Ms Penhallurick said: “The sale also features a group of Souza drawings which attract interest by being more affordable than a lot of paintings. In the entire package are also an unusual group of early works by Husain which form an interesting comparison with later examples.”

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