NEW YORK, NY.- Christies
announced the spring auction of South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art taking place on 21 March. Juxtaposing modernism with a strong contemporary perspective, the sale presents an exhilarating array of works by celebrated modern masters; Tyeb Mehta, Akbar Padamsee, Syed Haider Raza, Francis Newton Souza and Maqbool Fida Husain alongside the biggest names in contemporary art; Subodh Gupta, Rashid Rana, Atul Dodiya, Anju Dodiya, Jitish Kallat, Nalini Malani, Rina Banerjee, Raqib Shaw and Zarina. The interest in South Asian contemporary art is strongly present on the international museum front and much of the contemporary works on offer have been widely exhibited and internationally acclaimed. The auction will also feature property from two esteemed collections, The Keehn Family Collection and Garden Silk Mills Ltd: The Chairmans Collection.
The Keehn Family Collection presented here follows and concludes the selection Christie's had the privilege of presenting in September 2011. This selection includes the powerful, bold and expressionistic Keehn Family Portrait (estimate: $100,000 150,000) painted by Maqbool Fida Husain. Husain captures a poignant moment from 1959 during the time when the Keehn family lived in India.
Mr. Praful Shah, Chairman of Garden Silk Mills is a true visionary bridging tradition and modernity, with deep insight and love for the arts of India. Highlighting Garden Silk Mills Ltd: The Chairmans Collection is Tyeb Mehtas Untitled (Figures with Bull Head) (estimate: $1,500,000 2,000,000). Belonging to the suite of works created at Santiniketan in 1984, this painting is situated formally and philosophically at a major turning point in Mehtas life and illustrates a maturity of style.
Among the sale highlights is Akbar Padamsees Cityscape, (Estimate on Request) executed in 1959 during the artists Gray Period for his first solo exhibition in Bombay after spending nearly ten years in Paris. The exhibition was a breakthrough event in the Indian art scene. Inspired by the Bombay landscape, this painting is among the finest of Padamsees oeuvre. Painted at night in the badminton court outside Padamsees home in Juhu, Cityscape is a meditation on the color gray, on line, form and movement. It captures the change of light throughout the night from the cooler tones of the moon light to the warmer tones of the breaking day.
Kicking off the contemporary selection is an untitled work by Subodh Gupta (estimate: $180,000 250,000) from his iconic series on stainless steel utensils. Crawling House by Zarina, (estimate: $20,000 30,000) one of the group of artists who represented India at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011, is an installation featuring hundreds of miniature rooftops that signify her preoccupation with the idea of home, memory and the impermanence of both.
Also featured in the sale is Rashid Ranas The World is Not Enough (estimate: $40,000 60,000). An exquisite example of Ranas use of pixilated images, this work is composed of photographs taken mostly from a landfill outside of Lahore. Reduced to miniature pixels, the details that form the larger image are in fact thousands of images of trash digitally stitched together. This work is an examination of urban decay and serves as a larger comment on superficiality, consumerism and disposable culture.
Capturing the spirit of the time, the contemporary artists of the region, like the modernists before them, carry the essence of South Asia that never ceases to provide creative inspiration. Today, the young South Asian artist responds to a new global artistic vision making this an exciting time to endorse the creative forces of South Asia.