A glimpse of contemporary masters

A painting by Amrita Sher-gil  

Art lovers in the city are in for a treat. Seventy paintings and sculptures by contemporary masters will be on preview prior to DAG (Delhi Art Gallery) Modern’s auction in New Delhi on December 6. This will be the second auction for DAG Modern, a repository of 20th Century Indian Art, following its inaugural one in August. To tap potential buyers, the institution is conducting previews in six cities, including Hyderabad.

The exhibits include an early Parisian work by Amrita Sher-Gil, early works of Krishen Khanna, Satish Gujral and Sri Lankan modernist George Keyt among select works of other masters (see box).

On the move to conduct city previews, Kishore Singh, president of DAG Modern, says, “We in New Delhi and Mumbai have been insular to art markets in other cities. If the bulk of the art trade occurs in Mumbai and Delhi, it’s because markets were created here. But, previously, all Indian cities have had a history of patronage which we have ignored. There are aesthetes, art lovers and buyers in different cities but no one has tapped their potential.”

City previews are something the institution hopes to do for its successive auctions, and even add newer cities.

Apart from helping them grow the market for art, Kishore hopes that for potential buyers, the event will make the process of participating in auctions less intimidating. A workshop for the specially-abled will also be conducted in an effort to reach out to a wider audience.

The 70 works to be displayed here are from a curated collection. “A curated auction is possible because most works come from our inventory, so we can choose works that form a history lesson in 20th century Indian art,” says Kishore. Look out for exhibits across genres — still-life, landscapes, abstracts, mythology, and narratives in watercolours, oil/acrylic on canvas, drawings, prints and sculpture. “They represent a wide swathe of the century, as well as geography, with all regions represented by its artists, as well as by major art movements and artists’ collectives,” adds Kishore. The price, he says, will range from Rs 1.5 lakh for a set of two Haren Das prints to Rs 3.5 crore for Husain’s painting, Three Graces.

Will the auction bear the brunt of demonetisation, with buyers shying away from luxury buys? Kishore has his fingers crossed. “It’s too early to say what impact demonetisation will have on the art market even in the short term because we’re seeing some degree of chaos with regard to daily spends at the moment. However, the auction shouldn’t feel the heat. It’s far away enough for things to settle down, and auctions typically are not plagued by notions of currency in any colour other than white,” he says.

He points out that DAG Modern waives buyers’ premium, making the exhibits more affordable, “The buyer’s premium ranges from 20 to 25 per cent for most auction houses. This is the extra you pay above the hammer price. Can you imagine what that means in savings, especially for the expensive pieces? So waiving this is a huge attraction.”

Kishore is hopeful that there will be an enthusiastic response from Hyderabad for the preview and the auction.

What to expect

* The exhibits include works of marquee artists of Indian art such as F.N Souza, M.F Husain, S.H Raza, Akbar Padamsee, Krishen Khanna and Ram Kumar.

* Five of India’s nine National Treasure artists are represented — Amrita Sher-Gil, Rabindranath Tagore, Abanindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy and Nandalal Bose (with a set of ten works forming a single lot).

* Also, look out for paintings from the Bengal School, Cholamandal, artists from Delhi with a strong language of abstraction particularly neo-tantra, such as G.R Santosh and Biren De.

* Artists from Hyderabad include Laxma Goud, Thota Vaikhuntam and Badri Narayan, whose works shown here are different from their usual practice.

(The preview at Taj Deccan will be open for invitees on November 17 and to public on November 18.)

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Printable version | May 16, 2021 12:24:28 AM |

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