Guru Govind Singh’s canvas on sale at Sotheby’s auction

September 10th, 2009 - 8:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) A large oil-on-canvas portrait of the 10th and last Sikh Guru - Guru Gobind Singh - will be up for sale at Sotheby’s Indian Art auction in New York Sep 17.
The work is one of the highlights of the early paintings on the sale and is estimated at $70,000. Guru Gobind Singh was the last contributor to the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy Sikh book, a release issued by the Sotheby’s Thursday said.

In the portrait, the guru is shown seated wearing a plumed turban, with his head surrounded by a bright hallow. A lake and mountains in the background add to a sense of serenity. The guru was also known as a fearless warrior in defence of the Sikh faith and it was symbolised by the bow and arrow he holds.

This portrait is the largest of a series of four closely-related paintings depicting Guru Gobind Singh, where each portrait acted as the inspiration for the next. The final work in the series was created by artist Hari Singh, and is now displayed at the Hazur Saheb Gurdwara in Nanded, Maharashtra, the site of Guru Gobind Singh’s final congregation.

Among the other Sikh works on sale is ‘The Ten Sikh Gurus’, a painting which has Guru Nanak at the centre. This painting belongs the the beginning of the 20th century. It is estimated at $7,000. The work dates from a period when there was a sharp rise in the number of lithographs and painted photographs of saints and divinities being produced in the country.

These were made in a new type of studio that saw print makers and photographers work along with the chitrakar - the traditional painters of the time. The third Sikh miniature on the sale depicts Maharaja Ranjit Singh riding a stallion and carrying weapons, with two foot soldiers walking alongside.

Ranjit Singh was known for his passion for horses. The work is estimated at $5,000. In addition to these Sikh miniatures the sale will also feature works by Tyeb Mehta, V.S. Gaitonde, M.F. Husain and Francis Newton Souza.

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