A glimpse into AstaGuru’s Collector’s Choice Modern Indian Art Auction

We’re partnering with AstaGuru, India’s premium auction house, to spread the word about their upcoming Collector’s Choice Auction on June 25th and 26th, 2021. This will be an absolute auction (i.e. a No Reserve Auction) featuring lots by Modern Indian master artists like M.F Husain, S.H Raza, Jehangir Sabavala, Amrita Sher-Gil and many more. If you have been considering starting your own modern Indian art collection, this is your chance.


Out of the 120 lots, all of which will be offered without a Reserve Price, more than half the lots will be appearing in an auction for the very first time. Modern Indian Art remains the proverbial jewel in the crown for art collectors with a consistent demand for works by the Masters. AstaGuru has witnessed this trend, along with an increase in first-time bidders, indicating a significant interest among new collectors as well.


Commenting on the curation of the auction, said, Sunny Chandiramani, Vice President - Client Relations, AstaGuru said, “We are excited to present another edition of AstaGuru’s Collectors Choice Online auction. The artworks curated in this auction takes one through the realms of each of the Masters’ individual artistic journey. This auction enables a collector to own a rare piece of work that represent significant milestones in the artists’ distinctive careers at a no reserve price, presenting a great opportunity for anyone looking to own a masterpiece. This auction also allows seasoned collectors to enhance their collections of some of the great masters with unique gems, from their artistic oeuvre, some which have been purchased directly from the artists by the seller.”


We've selected ten of our favorite works from the auction for our readers and art aficionados:

Untitled by B Prabha

B Prabha’s Untitled (Lot 100) is a key highlight from this auction. Created in 1996, the painting exhibits the prolific artist’s maturity, celebrating her preferred choice of medium, subject, and style in full glory. This oil on canvas work depicts Prabha’s treasured subject — a graceful pensive rural woman — adorned by a dominating single colour. A gem from this Modern Master’s oeuvre.


Az Edeny Emberek Lakohelyu (The vessel is the abode of the people) by Amrita Sher-Gil

Making its auction debut, this rare watercolour work by Amrita Sher- Gil — the pioneer of Modern Art in India — was executed in the year 1923 when she was merely 10 years old. A statement of the artist’s prodigious talent, Az Edeny Emberek Lakohelyu (The vessel is the abode of the people) (Lot 7) showcases Sher-Gil’s astonishing understanding of colours and depth. The artist would later come to be known as one of the world’s greatest avant-garde women artists of the early 20th century.


Untitled (Triptych) by Yusuf Arakkal

Another highlight of this auction is Yusuf Arakkal’s Untitled (Triptych) (Lot 79). Painted in the year 1991, this oil on canvas work showcases the contemporary artist’s trademark subject in his signature style. The painting keeps up with Arrakal’s preference of sombre and earthy shades of yellow and crimson to highlight a chapter from the everyday life of a solitary man. This is a landmark piece by Arakkal and is the largest work to have ever been made by him.


Nidhi by S.H.Raza

Marking its presence in an auction for the first time is S.H.Raza’s Nidhi’ (Lot 117) is an acrylic on canvas painting from 1990. Known for his mastery of geometric designs, Raza brings together fluidly the five key symbols of fire and water, earth, wind and sky. Governed by the essence of equilibrium, he yearned to realise the characteristics of colours and shapes, thereby striking a balance between the space that they occupied in tow with their seminal properties. This lot is anticipated to be highly sought after in this auction.


Untitled by F.N.Souza

F.N. Souza’s Untitled (Lot 77) is a sombre pastel on paperwork from the artist's repertoire of still life. Painted in the year 1971, this artwork reflects Souza’s replacement of thick impasto paint and black outlines by strong definite black lines — a feature that became prominent in his works from the 1960s onwards. This painting from the well-known master of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group makes an interesting and accessible entry point for new collectors looking to acquire Souza’s works.


Untitled (Bird, Tree and Mountain Series) by J Swaminathan

Another key highlight of this auction is Untitled (Lot 102), an oil on canvas by Jagdish Swaminathan from his signature Bird Tree and Mountain series. Created in 1983, this series translates the artist’s affinity towards etching a pictorial representation of form in its purest and most refined state. In order to frame his images as part of this series, he encountered and processed phenomena in their virginal state. This particular work, executed with a bright red background, showcases his inspiration and intention to preserve and present formal qualities of Indian miniatures.


Untitled by Ram Kumar

Ram Kumar’s Untitled (Lot 113) is another important oil on canvas work from the year 1999 that is also making its auction debut. This is an important figurative work from the master who is generally associated with abstraction. However, the artist started with figurative works during the early 1950s and seldom through the course of his practice, intermittently revisited figurative style works, making this work rather rare.


Set of 4 works by M.F.Husain


A series of prominent work by the Grand Master himself, MF Husain. This stunning work marks its presence in an auction for the first time and is a rare set of four untitled works (Lot 109). The four watercolours on mount board lots, is accompanied by a set of four limited edition posters from 1985, which are based on the presented artworks. The artwork was acquired from the collection of a prominent collector from Kolkata who sourced these unique works directly from the artist.


Untitled (New Market) by Hemendranath Mazumdar

Another important artwork in this auction is Untitled (New Market) (Lot 11) by the renowned early 20th century Bengali painter Hemendranath Mazumdar. This gouache on board landscape of Calcutta's renowned New Market is a departure from the artist’s trademark oil paintings of women, usually bathing or draped in wet saree. The artwork, painted in the year 1925, also bears a rich provenance, as it was directly acquired from the artist by the eminent art critic Samir Das Gupta.


The Festival by Jehangir Sabavala

Jehangir Sabavala’s The Festival (Lot 115), circa 1942, was the artist’s third-year submission while he was studying at Sir J J School of Art, Mumbai. The artwork is a testament to the artist's formative phase of artistic training in India. This gouache on paper shows the 20-year-old Sabavala’s mastery over detailings, as seen through the proportions of the figures, and his exposure to Indian sensibilities before his European training in later years.



About the AstaGuru Auction:


The auction will also include multiple significant and rare works by the greats from the Bengal School of Art including Jamini Roy, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jogen Choudhury, and works by distinguished artists such as Ganesh Pyne, K.H Ara, Anjolie Ela Menon, K.K. Hebbar, Krishen Khanna, K. G. Subramanyan, Akbar Padamsee and Lalu Prasad Shaw, many of whose works are appearing in an auction for the first time.


The auction will take place online on June 25th and 26th, 2021 and the entire auction catalogue can be viewed on AstaGuru’s website. All lots will be offered at no-reserve and will start at an opening bid on INR 20,000.


View the full catalogue and register to bid here.