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Husain, Raza art works at summer sale in London

Press Trust Of India
May 25, 2011 at 01:06pm IST

New Delhi: Paintings by MF Husain and SH Raza among other modern and contemporary artists figure among the highlights of Indian art in two upcoming summer sales abroad.

"The Sixth Seal" by Husain estimated at 500,000 pounds and exhibited at Oxford's Museum of Modern Art's 'India: Myth and Reality, Aspects of Modern Indian Art' in 1982, is up for bidding at Sotheby's South Asian modern and contemporary art sale scheduled on May 31 in London.

The oil on canvas signed in devnagiri painting formerly in the collection of Chester and Davida Herwitz, is made up of six vignettes - a compositional device used by the artist in a number of his early works, according to the auction house.

Husain, Raza art works at summer sale in London

"The Sixth Seal" by Husain estimated at 500,000 pounds and exhibited at Oxford's Museum of Modern Art.

Likewise, a key lot by the artist who is currently a resident in Dubai and London, is going under the hammer at the Bonhams Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern Art in London on June 1.

The untitled picture that has been in private hands since the early 1970s and which depicts the artist's characteristic subject matter is estimated by the auctioneers to sell between 70,000 to 90,000 pounds.

The Bonhams' auction is representing artists from eight countries - Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, India, Pakistan and Sri-Lanka. Many of the artworks by Sual al-Attar, Fadi Barrage, Ismael Fattah, M F Husain, Sadanand K Bakre, Raza, and George Keyt are new to the market having been in private collections for 40 to 50 years.

Works in the sale cover a big presence of Bakre, part of the Bombay Progressive Artists Group. It covers every period in his career including the first sculpture to come to auction. Only a few of Bakre's modernist sculptures have been seen by the public, one of them being in the renowned Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai.

"Bakre is still relatively undiscovered. His work is powerful but has not been promoted like his contemporaries.

The market which took a downturn is now coming back and the best works continue to attract top prices," says Katia Vraimakis, a specialist in Bonhams Middle East and South Asian Department.

The Sotheby's auction featuring a total of 62 lots is expected to fetch in excess of 2.8 million pounds (Rs 205 million). A oil on canvas work by H S Raza from his Paris period included in the auction is estimated at 500,000 pounds.

Made in 1956 a year after Raza was awarded the French award 'Prix de la Critique', the painting depicts the view from his studio window and represents an important early phase in his career where he abandons the confines of traditional watercolour and develops a unique idiom in oil in which space and colour seem to feed into one another.

During his time in Paris he used to paint uninhabited cities devoid of any human presence or location in time or space.

Another composition featuring Raza's 'bindu' in blue, red, yellow, white and black will also be on sale.

The 'bindu' or the dots or points in Raza's works symbolise the five elements of nature. The 1985 work is one of the earliest large scale depictions of the bin The higher estimate of the work has been put at 600,000 pounds.

Jehangir Sabavala's "The Tree", a landscape in oil, is estimated at 75,000 pounds. The painting is part of the artist's Tungabhadra landscapes, painted in 1965 following a visit by the Sabavalas to south India.

The artist was influenced by the ruins at Hampi and the starkness of the artificial lake in Tungabhadra river, bordering Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The auction will also include an untitled canvas by Manjit Bawa, inspired by the Rajput and the Pahari style of paintings. It is estimated at 100,000 pounds.

Subodh Gupta's monumental sculpture "Hungry God", composed of a wavelike mass of stainless steel pans, milk pails and tiffins and two early oil paintings by Francis Newton Souza also feature in the Sotheby's upcoming auction.

Souza compositions have been acquired directly from the artist by writer and poet Stephen Spender and sourced by Sotheby's from the Estate of Sir Stephen and Lady Spender.

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