NEW YORK, NY.-
On March 19th, Christies
South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art Sale will offer a fine selection of over seventy of works including some from the most important collections in the category, including the Abrams Family Collection, the Collection of Daniel Herwitz and Lucia Saks,the Estate of F. N. Souza and the Family Collection of Krishna Shamrao Kulkarni. Leading this emerging market since its inception, Christies continues to bring exceptional works from Indian and Pakistani artists to the global art scene such as F.N. Souza, M.F. Husain and K.S. Kulkarni alongside choice works by some of todays most innovative contemporary artists such as Surendran Nair, Ravinder Reddy, Subodh Gupta, and Rashid Rana.
The highlight of the sale, M. F. Husains Untitled, oil on canvas (estimate: $500,000-700,000), from the Abrams Family Collection is a tour de force. With monumental scale, sophisticated subtlety of line and a classical palette, Untitled depicts five women in a joyous dance of life. Referred to as the Picasso of India by Forbes magazine and a founding member of the revolutionary Progressive Artists Group (PAG), Husain developed a style that elegantly fused native Indian and the foreign influences of European Modernism. This outstanding work, with its subtle colors and monumental stature presents Husains dexterity-- which developed from his humble beginnings as a billboard painter.
Another highlight of the sale is M. F. Husains Culture of the Streets, circa 1980s (estimate: $12,00018,000), a group of thirty two color photographs. This photographic exploration of Indias rich and vibrant street culture illustrates the fascinating juxtaposition between the urban landscape of the Indian under-classes, and the glitzy imagery used in Indian cinema.
Representing F. N. Souzas never before seen New York oeuvre, Christies is please to present five exceptional works from the Estate of F. N. Souza, including Tom B. Scott Jr., Vice President U.S. Savings & Loan League, 1968 (estimate: $200,000-300,000). With its vibrant colors, exhilarating lines and poignant socio-economic subtext, this painting is a testament of Souzas ability to constantly reinvent and refine his prodigious style. The bold delineation of the financier, with its black contours, dangling tendrils and protruding eyes silhouetted against a void of silver spray paint reflects Souzas personal encounter with poverty and isolation upon moving to New York and his ability to sustain his own particular style within a new terrain or life and art.
Also among the highlights is V. S. Gaitondes Untitled, 1965 (estimate: $300,000-500,000). Known for his stark independence and distinctive artistic identity, Gaitonde is recognized among Indias foremost abstractionists. This painting epitomizes Gaitondes individualism, along with his remarkable ability to convey color and form. Featuring stark lines and a highly contrasted palette, this work possesses a freshness that is rare within both his paintings, and the paintings of his artistic peers, making it a particularly salient example of Gaitondes highly coveted work.
Featuring among the contemporary highlights in the auction is cutting-edge artist, Ravinder Reddys Untitled (estimate: $150,000-200,000). Reddy references ancient Indian sculptural traditions in his massive polyester-resin heads. The glamorous gilt head of a woman is a fabulous example of Reddys super-sizing technique where he inflates the busts of traditional Indian goddesses into gargantuan proportions. The artist imbues his work with a sense of serenity and docility while at the same time these brightly colored and gilded sculptures possess many of the characteristics of Pop Art.
Surendran Nairs Forty Winks 1 (Corollary Mythologies), 1997 (estimate:
$70,000 90,000) is from his celebrated Corollary Mythologies series. Forty Winks 1 is an excellent portrayal of the artists ability to fuse mythology and the visual aspects from both Western and Indian art as a means of initiating new and idiosyncratic icons. Here, the subject is depicted with an umbilical thread of life stemming from the abdomen, communicating notions of belonging and decent, that run throughout the Corollary Mythologies series. For this work, Nair implements a range of religious and cultural iconography, which ultimately constructs a rich visual lineage of cultural and artistic histories.
Another highlight comes from Rashid Rana, Pakistans most celebrated and well known artist. Twins, 2007, (estimate: $40,000-60,000) depicts the twin towers of the World Trade Center as a composite image made from pixels of everyday street Pakistani street scene. Rana uses his native urban environment for inspiration and combines the two cultures tackling the underlying issues of inequality and violence binding them.