Husain, Souza highlights of OSIAN’s auction

New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) Modern master M.F. Husain’s composition ‘Figures’, estimated at Rs.36 lakh (nearly $78,000), and F.N. Souza’s ‘Couple’ are among the highlights of an auction of 101 rare modern and contemporary art works by OSIAN’s-Connoisseurs of Arts in Mumbai June 23.

‘Figures’ is an acrylic on wood composition mounted on a canvas-lined wooden background.

It is part of the Gufa installation series by the artist, reflecting two dimensional images within a cave-like structure. The work traces its origin to Husain’s and architect B.V. Doshi’s collaborative museum in Ahmedabad that is home to several of the artist’s cave installation art.

The other important art works to feature in the auction at the Taj Land’s End Hotel are a rare water colour on paper by Gaganendranath Tagore from his Chaitanya series estimated at Rs.27 lakh, Souza’s ‘Couple’, a 1963 composition in oil on silk canvas, and S.H. Raza’s 1961 work ‘Forest Noir’.

The total estimated value of the 101 art works to be auctioned will be to the tune of nearly Rs.35 crore (over $7.5 million).

The sale will also feature works by Rameshwar Broota, J. Swaminathan, Tyeb Mehta, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Ganesh Pyne, V.S. Gaitonde, Jogen Chowdhury, Bhupen Kakkar, Atul Dodiya and Subodh Gupta.

The auction will mark the 10th anniversary of the art house and archive.

OSIAN’s chairman Neville Tuli said that since the inception of the auction house-cum-archive in 2000, every OSIAN auction has focused on the history of Indian modern and contemporary art to help collectors access quality art in a systematic manner.

‘Naturally, from Ravi Varma to the Tagores, from the Progressives to the Circle of Progressives, Bengal, Baroda and Cholamandal-based masters – all modern masters have been equally promoted by OSIAN’s. We make it a point that all the great masters, whether financially successful or not, saleable or not, are promoted with objectivity. But we believe that promoting new work by contemporary artists is the role of the gallery, not the auction house,’ Tuli told IANS from Mumbai.

Tuli painted a buoyant picture of the auction market saying: ‘There is a significant increase in interest especially from international museums in top quality Indian modern art. It has also been accompanied by an approximately 45-48 percent increase in prices and a much larger jump in liquidity levels.

‘The consolidation which the sale season in June will now witness will harbour very positively for the September 2010 auction season.’

The OSIAN chairman said that ‘as focus on India was growing, it was becoming important for international museums to keep a few of the best works of Indian modernism in their collection so as to make sure the Indian visitor is attracted to their space’.

However, along with the institution, the number of individual buyers, from top professionals to corporate heads, are increasing. ‘And the first wave of individuals wishing to build museum-quality institutional collections is also emerging in India,’ Tuli said.

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