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Christie's Presents Highest Value South Asian Art Sale Ever Offered
The auction features a remarkable selection of Contemporary art from the region and Subodh Gupta’s Two Cows (illustrated above, estimate: $280,000-350,000) is one of the major highlights in the sale. Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010.
NEW YORK, NY.- On September 15th, Christie’s South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art auction will include over 100 carefully selected works from leading 20th and 21st century South Asian artists and is expected to realize in excess of $10 million. This auction presents a whole spectrum of modern and contemporary and will feature celebrated Modern Masters Syed Haider Raza, Francis Newton Souza, Maqbool Fida Husain and Jagdish Swaminathan alongside the biggest names in contemporary art including Subodh Gupta, Rashid Rana, Atul Dodiya and TV Santhosh.

Syed Haider Raza’s magnificent La Terre, 1985, (estimate: $2,000,000-2,500,000) leads the sale. A masterpiece which belongs to a key period in the artist’s career, it powerfully integrates vital elements of Raza's Indian heritage. At Christie’s London in June 2010, Saurashtra from the same period and on the same grand scale, made history in the field by becoming the first work to achieve $3,486,965. It set a new world auction record for any Modern Indian work of art and a world auction record for the artist. Within Raza’s oeuvre there are very few works of this size and caliber, thus La Terre presents a rare opportunity for serious collectors.

Another magnificent highlight is Francis Newton Souza’s Untitled (Large Head), 1962 (estimate: $1,200,000-1,800,000). This visionary head sums up Souza at his very best: made up of fantastical organic and mechanical elements like parts in a clock, it evokes an automaton, a perpetual mobile of Souza's art. This monumental work typifies Souza’s absolute mastery of execution, invention and composition, all stunningly evident at a pivotal stage in his career. It is an important critical and intellectual tour de force depicting imagined possibility and cultural theory in the early 1960s.

Maqbool Fida Husain’s Untitled (Sitar Player) (estimate: $350,000-500,000) reflects the enormous inspiration the artist draws from the inter-disciplinary nature of music, sculpture, dance, painting and film. The present work depicts his masterful synthesis of a classically Indian subject (the sitar player) into a modern artistic language. Skillful economy of line and form combined with swiftly defined linear brushstrokes create an idyllic, gestural simplicity in a beautifully muted palette.

The auction features a remarkable selection of Contemporary art from the region and Subodh Gupta’s Two Cows (estimate: $280,000-350,000) is one of the major highlights in the sale. In this work Gupta combines utilitarian objects familiar to both rural and urban echelons of Indian society. Stainless steel containers and the simple bicycle are ubiquitous objects and epitomize the artist’s ability to find tension and irony in the mundane

Densely Packed, 2004 (estimate: $250,000-300,000) is another featured work by Gupta. Here the artist documents the daily life of the bazaars via a quasi-photo realistic rendition of a vessel stall, recasting an ensemble of traditional objects of Indian culture. These shining steel containers are a staple of many Indian homes and depict a fascination with consumerism and urbanization in the ever expanding city.

Atul Dodiya will be represented by various significant works, including Kalki, 2002 (estimate: $180,000-250,000). Choosing the common shop shutter as a medium, Dodiya alludes to India's commercial capital, Mumbai, and carefully juxtaposes images on the shutter and canvas behind to play on the notions of open/closed and private/public to reflect the dynamism of India’s rapidly growing economy.

Additional highlights will include Anju Dodiya’s Garden of Capillaries, 2005 (estimate: $80,000-120,000); Manjit Bawa’s Untitled (Durga) (estimate: $200,000 - 250,000); and TV Santhosh’s Scars of an Ancient Error, 2006 (estimate: $100,000 - 150,000).



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