While works by the members of the Progressive Artists Group remain highly sought after, collectors are also looking to diversify their collections with significant works by other celebrated names across the spectrum of Modern Indian art. AstaGuru’s upcoming catalogue will present bidders with an extraordinary opportunity to acquire numerous masterpieces and rare compositions. All lots presented during the auction are offered without a reserve. Bidding will commence at INR 20,000.
The auction will include a broad range of 160 exceptional lots by eminent names in the Modern Indian landscape such as Amrita Sher-Gil, M F Husain, F N Souza, Ram Kumar, V S Gaitonde, S H Raza, Krishen Khanna, Sakti Burman, Jehangir Sabavala, Anjolie Ela Menon, G R Santosh, Biren De, T Vaikuntam, Ganesh Pyne, K.G. Subramanyan, Nasreen Mohamedi, Sunil Das, K K Hebbar, Bikash Bhattacharjee, and many more.
Commenting on the auction curation, Sneha Gautam, Vice President- Client Relations, AstaGuru, said, “The auction offers several rare gems stretching the gamut of Indian modernism, M F Husain’s - Homage to C V Raman - an abstract series celebrating the renowned Indian physicist; Anjolie Ela Menon’s inimitable take on Pieta – a subject touched upon by artists over centuries. The auction also features sculptures from leading artists including Somnath Hore, Prodosh Das Gupta and P V Janakiram.”
Here are ten of our favorite works from the auction for our readers and art aficionados:
Artist Lalu Prasad Shaw (Lot 61) is famous for his stylized portraits of archetypical Bengali folks. A master of creating works in tempera, Shaw’s portraits are focused on the physical characteristics of his subjects with deft line work and use of bright colours, especially their expressions. His protagonists are often captured in a moment of thoughtful contemplation against a vibrant background, as observed in this work.
This is a work titled Family (Lot 148) by one of India’s most famous artists M F Husain. The artist's attention to detail is evident with deft can be seen with the elaborateness of the anatomy, clothing, and lush surroundings. Interestingly, M F Husain has painted himself in the corner. He has portrayed himself in the act of creating this very painting. It was featured in a 2011 exhibition titled Remembering The Master: Works by M F Husain.’
Chronicling one of the most famous romantic Indian songs ever filmed, this work by artist Arpana Caur recreates the iconic scene from the song Pyaar Hua from the movie Shree 420, featuring legendary actors Nargis and Raj Kapoor. The oil on canvas work executed in 1999 is an excellent example of assimilation of popular culture in visual art.
This painting (Lot 48) is an excellent example of Manjit Bawa’s outstanding figurative art practice. Executed circa 1980, it showcases a protagonist composed against a deep red background. The inscrutable gaze of the figure is common to the artist’s style.
Executed in Jamini Roy’s (Lot 3) signature style, this work was created circa 1940. One of the Navratnas or the nine gems of modern Indian art, Jamini Roy was born in 1887 in the Beliatore village of West Bengal and studied art in the technique of British academic realism at the Government Art School in Kolkata. He found his muse in the simplistic styles and traditions of Kalighat style of painting, which were commonly sold outside the Kalighat temple in Kolkata. Adapting to a ‘flat style,’ he painted people and scenes from rural India in his unique linear modernist style with the use of bold colours like yellow, blue, green, red, white, and brought a complete reinterpretation of Indian iconography.
This is a rare early work by eminent artist Biren De (Lot 22), often recognised for his brilliant Neo-Tantric paintings. Titled Manjori, the oil on canvas work was executed in 1954. The work was showcased at the artist's solo exhibition at Dhoomimal Art Gallery, Delhi in 1977. It is also published in Richard Bartholomew: The Art Critic.
The presented work is by artist B Prabha (Lot 114), whose career was defined by the depiction of women, especially fisherwomen, which became the artist’s perennial leitmotif and continuously featured in her work. With their graceful elongated figure, stoic expressions and melancholic gaze, the women featured in B Prabha’s work were evocative of the hardships faced by women in India as they went about living their lives with a dignified silence beguiling their plight. “I have yet to see one happy woman,” she famously said in a 2006 interview.
A rare early work by K G Subramanyan (Lot 66), who was a painter, muralist, sculptor, printmaker, writer, scholar, teacher and a prolific art historian. K G Subramanyan developed a completely individualistic artistic idiom through the course of his career. In a vibrant synthesis of the modern and the traditional, Subramanyan’s works were inspired by varied sources including Indigenous Bengali artistic traditions, Indian tribal art, folk symbolism as well as elements of European modernism such as cubism. Drawing from the rich resources of personal memories and mythical fables, the artists depicted women, children, objects and animals in a theatrical play of vibrant colours which gave his canvases a sense of magical realism. The painting was executed circa 1960.
Titled Bathsheba At Her Bath, revered artist F N Souza (Lot 82) recreates a biblical scene owing to his childhood influences while growing up around Catholic churches in Goa. Executed in 1962 on canvas, Souza employs a minimalistic approach and efficiently captures the essence of the scene with graceful lines. This theme has been immortalized by many artists throughout history, most famously Rembrandt.
This rare sculpture is by artist Ram Kumar (Lot 91), whose career started with figurative works. The bronze work is reminiscent of Ram Kumar’s archetypical portrait characteristics. The inspiration for his series of figurative works came upon his return to India from Paris in 1952 when he witnessed the plight of the youth in the newly independent country. The gaunt figures in ragged clothes, their forlorn faces, and the life they lived in dilapidated crammed urban slums moved the artist to depict their sense of hopelessness in his canvases. He continued to do these figurative studies throughout his career. The work was previously showcased and published as a part of a 2019 exhibition titled Bronzed : From Paint to Patina.