Husain, Raza highlights of Sotheby’s Asian art sale

May 18th, 2011 - 2:18 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 18 (IANS) Maqbool Fida Husain’s “The Sixth Seal” and Syed Haider Raza’s oil composition “Rue Des Fosses St Jaques” are the highlights of Sotheby’s South Asian modern and contemporary art sale to be held May 31 in London, a release said.

Altogether 62 lots on sale at the auction are expected to fetch in excess of 2.8 million pounds (Rs.205 million).

Husain’s work, estimated at 500,000 pounds, shows the balance between the artist’s cubist modern style of painting and Indian traditional sensibility and subject matter.

This work, formerly in the collection of Chester and Davida Herwitz, incorporates many of the artist’s most recognisable themes and symbols, traditional forms of ancient Indian miniatures, sculptures, dance and folk art in one frame.

The painting is made up of six vignettes — a compositional device used by the artist in a number of his early works. The work was exhibited at Oxford’s Museum of Modern Art’s ‘India: Myth and Reality, Aspects of Modern Indian Art’ in 1982, a statement issued Tuesday evening by Sotheby’s said.

Another important work on sale is “Rue des Fosses St Jaques” — an oil composition on canvas by Raza from his Paris period. It is estimated at 500,000 pounds.

Made a year after Raza was awarded the ‘Prix de la Critique’, a French award, the painting depicts the view from his studio window and represents an important early phase in his career where he abandons the confines of traditional watercolour and develops a unique idiom in oil in which space and colour seem to feed into one another.

In 1958, the painting was photographed with the artist by master lensman Henri Cartier Bresson.

Another composition featuring Raza’s ‘bindu’ in blue, red, yellow, white and black will also be on sale. The ‘bindu’ or the dots in Raza’s works symbolise the five elements of nature. The work is estimated at 600,000 pounds.

Jehangir Sabavala’s “The Tree”, a landscape in oil, is estimated at 75,000 pounds. The painting is part of the artist’s Tungabhadra landscapes, painted in 1965 following a visit by the Sabavalas to south India.

The artist was moved by the ruins at Hampi and in particular by the starkness of the artificial lake in Tungabhadra river, at the border between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The auction will also include an untitled canvas by Manjit Bawa, inspired by the Rajput and the Pahari style of paintings. It is estimated at 100,000 pounds.

The auction will offer Subodh Gupta’s monumental sculpture “Hungry God”, and two early oil paintings by Francis Newton Souza.

Francis Newton Souza compositions have an interesting provenance. They were acquired directly from the artist by writer and poet Stephen Spender and sourced by Sotheby’s from the Estate of Sir Stephen and Lady Spender.

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