Bring a slice of Rodin’s legacy home - for Rs.6 lakh

February 2nd, 2011 - 3:02 pm ICT by IANS  

By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, Feb 2 (IANS) Not everyone in India can afford an Auguste Rodin sculpture, but a leading Indian boutique art house has made it possible for art lovers in the country to carry a “slice” of the 19th century French master home.Five “original miniatures” of Rodin’s famous sculptures have been brought to the capital from the Rodin Museum in Paris for sale at the three-day “The Masters of European Contemporary Art”.

It is an exclusive showcase of works by leading European and American contemporary artists like Damien Hirst, Salvador Dali, Marco Lo Guidice, Julian Opie, Karl Lagasse, Olivier Domin, David Kracov, Lorenzo Quinn, Dganit Blechhner and Franck Tordjmann.

The sale-cum-display of the western masters’ works opened at the DLF Emporio Feb 1.
The art works have been brought to India by Mumbai-based Marigold Fine Art, a pioneering retail and exhibition platform for contemporary and modern Western art in India. The space is managed by the entrepreneurs and lifestyle brand promoters Gaurav and Vickram Assomull.

The Rodin sculptures are priced between Rs.6 lakh and Rs.70 lakh.

Handcrafted in bronze with a smooth polished surface, the sculptures are “Le Penseur” (the thinker or the portrait of a pensive man), “La Basier” (man and woman in an act of kissing), “L’ Internal Printemps” (Eternal spring and love), “L’ Age d’airain” (a man flaunting his youth in the age of bronze) and “La Toilette de Venus” (Venus in an outstretched pose with a rising torso symbolising the awakening of love).

“Rodin crafted one original version each of his sculptures. The originals are lifesize. The rest are all miniature reproductions from the Rodin foundry managed by the Rodin Museum in Paris. A couple of years before his death in 1914-1915, Rodin created 25 miniature editions each of all his sculptures for international sale,” Gaurav Assomull, CEO of Marigold Fine Art, told IANS.

“The 25 copies, made from casts sculpted by Rodin, have been sold and resold ever since by people who bought them in the 1920s and 1930s. The five sculptures on display are from the assembly of original 25 replicas created by Rodin.”

The original miniatures “have been acquired by Assomull from the Rodin Museum in Paris through a gallery in Geneva”.

History cites that Rodin used a dark haired Italian beauty, Carmen Visconti of Fiesole, as a model for his Venus series for 13 years in the 1880s. Auguste Rodin (1840-1917), considered the father of modern sculpture, was known for realistic icons of the human body and the depiction of Venus in various acts of intimacy and arousal. He was inspired by Italian sculptors Michelangelo and Donatello.

The Rodin Museum (Musee Rodin set up in 1919) in Paris controls the sale of the replica editions around the world.

“The prices have appreciated at least 300 percent since they were sculpted by the artist,” Assomull said.

The Marigold Group also has a collection of eight handsigned lithographs of Salvador Dali priced at Rs.6 lakh each. Two of them are on display.

“We have sold four handsigned Dali lithographs in the last year,” Assomull said. “Salvador Dali, like artists Rodin and Pablo Picasso, during his lifetime put his signature on 100 copies each of 20 lithographs of his drawings, which have sold and resold several times.”

The lithographs are popular among the collectors because of their affordability.

The other high points of the sale were a series of two small mounted canvas mixed media art works, “Fun” by leading contemporary artist Damien Hirst, a series of aluminium dollar sculptures by Marcello Guidice and a set of acrylic and gold kitsch portraits by Olivier Domin, that included two compositions of Mahatma Gandhi’s profile in fluorescent pink, orange and gold.

The Damien Hirst compositions complete with pinned butterflies, coloured orbs, a syringe full of blood and medicinal tablets, were woven around the theme of drug addiction and are priced at Rs.30 lakh each.

“The series painted three years ago by Hirst is unusual because it uses canvas as the surface backdrop,” Assomull said.

Two “flocked acrylic (special printing surface) prints of a woman’s body, “Shahnoza in 3 parts”, by Julian Opie , generated buyers’ interest.

Commenting on the recent buying trends among high-end collectors in the country, Assomull said “the collectors’ market was seeing a sudden interest in international scale and foreign art”.

“Earlier, collectors swore by names undeterred by prices. But now, the spotlight is on emerging international artists and emerging markets,” he said.

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