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Saffronart's summer art auction features an exceptional collection of paintings and drawings
Subodh Gupta, Untitled, 2007. Oil on Canvas, 66 x 90 inches. Estimate: $180,000 – 220,000.

MUMBAI.- Saffronart, India’s leading auction house will showcase an important selection of works by modern masters and contemporary artists at its annual Summer Online Art Auction 2012. With a total of 70 lots, the sale provides an excellent opportunity for collectors and connoisseurs to acquire works by 34 pre-eminent modern and contemporary Indian artists. The auction will take place online at on June 19-20, 2012.

This year’s Summer Online Art Auction includes a collection of major modern paintings by established artists including V.S. Gaitonde, M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza and Ganesh Pyne, and also features a strong selection of contemporary Indian art, led by Bharti Kher, Surendran Nair, Subodh Gupta and Jitish Kallat, among others. The auction has a total estimate of Rs. 15.90 crore (US$ 3.1 million) to Rs. 20.75 crore (US$3.9 million).

Featured on the front cover of this auction catalogue is an untitled canvas by the reclusive modern master V.S. Gaitonde. Executed in 1971, this painting illustrates Gaitonde's profound understanding of the properties and abilities of his medium, and his immaculate control of light and shade through pigment. Here, the surface is built with several subtly graded, translucent layers of orange, rust and umber, running from a darker and more heavily layered lower band, which anchors the image, to its lucent, almost fluid center, where a few intense points of pigment have been allowed to punctuate its layers and escape to the surface.

Another highlight is S.H. Raza’s ‘Encountre’, painted in 1985, and estimated at Rs 2,00,00,000 - Rs. 2,50,00,000 (USD 370,375 - Rs. 462,965). In the mid 1980s, Raza began to develop a new and highly concentrated symbolic idiom by uniting his new, holistic experience of nature with a pure, plastic ordering of form. In this painting, the loose gestural brushwork of Raza’s abstract expressionism gives way to a more controlled approach to abstract forms and spaces. An intersecting network of bold horizontal and diagonal lines and planes form the triangular symbols of purush and prakriti, or the male and female energies that combine to beget life, and support this heaving, expanding universe. At the same Raza’s palette also took on the earthy tones of the Indian landscape that inspired this transformation. Here, Raza uses colour, particularly shades of ochre, umber, sienna, red and brown, to represent the searing heat and passion of Central India, where he was born and raised.

Among the contemporary lots is Subodh Gupta’s ‘Untitled’ (2007). In his exploration of globalization and its effects on the local, primarily the emergence of a new Indian middle-class, Gupta’s main concerns have been subjective value, material production and consumption. The artist creatively draws attention to the present interdigitation of tradition and modernity in the country, and the distinct social realities that emerge from this interface. In doing so, Gupta communicates the impossibility of capturing the intricacies of the developing world through a developed-world-lens. Using familiar symbols of middle class life in India as his main vehicle, the artist turns everyday kitchens and stores into shimmering theatres of polished stainless steel pots and pans. Emblematic of the aspirations of the proletariat, these shiny utensils reflect developing India’s distinctive brand of materiality.

Bharti Kher’s 2010 work ‘Indra’s net mirror 8’, is another highlight among the contemporary works on offer. Kher’s is an art of dislocation and transience, reflecting her own, largely itinerant life. Born and raised in England, the artist moved to New Delhi in the early 1990s after her formal training in the field, and today, like most of her contemporaries, frequently travels the world attending to exhibitions of her work. Consequently, the concept of home as the location of identity and culture is constantly challenged in her body of work. The clusters and patterns of multi-coloured, mass-produced, stick-on bindis in Kher's work represent both custom, which is often inflexible, and the dynamic ways in which it is produced and consumed today.

Speaking about the auction, Dinesh Vazirani, CEO and Co-founder of Saffronart said “We are privileged to be offering this important selection of modern and contemporary Indian art at our upcoming Summer Auction. From major canvases by Gaitonde, Raza, Husain and Pyne to important works on paper by Tyeb Mehta, Somnath Hore, F.N. Souza and K.G. Subramanyan our modern section is particularly strong. The collection is rounded out with exceptional contemporary works by Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat, Bharti Kher and Surendran Nair. Given their excellent quality and provenance, we hope to see competitive bidding from both established collectors and younger buyers”.

Saffronart’s Summer Online Auction will be accompanied by print and online catalogues, as well as preview events and private viewings in New Delhi, Mumbai and London. The sale will take place online on 19-20 June, 2012. Collectors may place bids at Saffronart’s website, or via Saffronart’s proprietary iPad, Blackberry and iPhone applications.

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