Husain tops Sotheby’s spring sales of Indian art

March 20th, 2008 - 11:54 am ICT by admin  

New York, March 20 (IANS) M.F. Husain’s untitled work has fetched $409,000, dominating the Sotheby’s New York spring sales of Indian art. The 1953 painting was sold to an Indian dealer at the auction held here Wednesday. The painting bears a striking similarity to another work from 1952 titled “Pull”, and both form part of a group of works inspired by a village puppeteer.

The Husain works dominated the top prices achieved in the sales, which also included paintings by J. Swaminathan, Rameshwar Broota, F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza, Ganesha Pyne and Arpita Singh, among others.

Another untitled Husain work from 1953, which shows a female figure holding a lamp, a central theme in his early works, was sold for $289,000 to a private American collector.

An untitled painting of a nude and horse, an enduring theme in Husain’s works since the 1950s, fetched $265,000, selling to another Indian dealer.

Head of Sotheby’s Indian and Southeast Asian Art department Zara Porter Hill said: “Today’s (Wednesday’s) sale was very solid, with a strong and discerning buying group seeking out top quality modern works with good provenance. In a full salesroom with consistent bidding, we witnessed strong international demand for works by Husain.”

Souza’s “Head of a Man”, which engages a format the artist used repeatedly, that of a head and torso painted on a plain background, was sold at $313,000.

His “Femme Nue”, 1952, was sold for $241,000 to an Indian dealer. In this work, the woman’s confident gaze unnerves the viewer, both acknowledging her blatant sexuality and vulnerability.

Other works that highlighted the sale included Raza’s untitled work, 1960, which fetched $241,000, selling to a private American collector. The work shows the artist’s movement towards a less structured composition, focussed upon a visual language of form and colour.

An untitled abstract work by Swaminathan, 1971, fetched $229,000 from an Indian buyer.

An unnamed work by Broota, which brought in $169,000, was sold to an anonymous buyer. It depicts a portrait of a man, but an unsettling disquiet surrounds the figure, almost as if details are being erased.

The Sotheby’s New York spring sales of Indian and Southeast Asian Art, including 240 lots of modern paintings, works of art and miniatures, brought a total of $12,133,626.

The Indian Art sale, which included modern paintings, achieved $5,106,875 and the Indian and Southeast Asian Art sale, which included works of art and miniatures, realized $7,026,751.

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