In the pandemic-induced 2020, art came home through digital platforms. Now Cymmon’s Auctioneers LLP, a unit of Hyderabad-based Moolagundam Art Gallery (MAG) is conducting an online auction. In this two-day (January 21 and 22) virtual event, 65 pieces go under the hammer — from a rare landscape by FN Souza to an untitled sketch by Amrita Sher-Gil. The auction also showcases ‘Guldasta’ (Installation made of stainless steel) by Subodh Gupta.
Of the 65 pieces, 39 are artworks by FN Souza, Kattingeri Krishna Hebbar, Krishen Khanna, Manjit Bawa, Paramjit Singh, Himmat Shah and Zarina Hashmi; the rest are jewellery exhibits.
A team of 10 members from Cymmon’s have worked out an estimate of art from ₹10,000 to ₹65 lakh and jewellery from ₹30,000 to ₹25 lakh (depending on the artist and indices defining the market value); they have developed their own online auctioning process with Laravel PHP. While the starting price to bid for FN Souza’s oil on canvas painting is ₹ 65 lakh, Krishen Khanna’s artwork’s starting bid is ₹ 8 lakh.
“The platform brings a curated list of rare works and affordable art as well as exquisite contemporary jewellery pieces, so that people can bid from the comfort of their homes,” says Suneel Kurudi, CEO, Cymmon. The auction house provides details about the artwork, and a guarantee of its authenticity for a year after purchase.
Proceedings for a digital auction are the same as a live one and prices do not vary; only the time frame to bid is longer in an online event (two days) when compared to a live event (two hours).
Suneel explains technology’s role in expanding the art world: “The whole process is paperless — from registrations, taking consignments to delivering the pieces. We have a robust technology that helps us implement this end-to-end online auction.”
He is ‘ecstatic’ that 120 people have already registered for the event from across the world. When MAG hosted a preview of the digital auction in December 2020 to give participants a feel of tactile art, it had 25 people in audience.
Suneel feels going virtual is the need of the hour; it not only mitigates the risk of people gathering at a place, but also yields increased sales. While the gallery expected a fall in sales, they were surprised to find that digital sales had in fact picked up during the lockdown phase.
Dismissing the notion that ‘2020 was a bad year for the Arts’, Suneel calls it a ‘year of new tunings’. “Till then people were accustomed to buying artworks in a traditional way. The pandemic has created new avenues,” he points out.
The auction app (Cymmon’s) is available for free download on Android and IOS devices. For registration: https://cymmons.com/