MF Husain’s unseen works to be auctioned online by Artiana in December

Published November 17, 2018 (moneycontrol.com), by Tasmayee Laha Roy

Maqbool Fida Husain (b.1915), ‘Arjun and Sudarshan Chakra’ (circa 1980s). Estimate: $300,000-500,000

In a bid to make the deals lucrative for the buyers, Artiana’s finance arm is offering an installment scheme which allows buyers to pay for an artwork in installments ranging from 3 months to 24 months.

Known for their luxury collectibles, UAE’s Artiana is all set to bring to the international market some of the unseen works of Indian artist Maqbool Fida Husain during their December auction.

With 50 works on display in the online auction, the range will offer works of modern and contemporary artists from the Indian subcontinent including a suite of Company School paintings.

The highlights of the auction are MF Husain’s canvas from the 1980s titled ‘Arjun and Sudarshan Chakra’ and another work, ‘A Magician Dangles the Fortune Bird in a Cage’ from the seminal Lost Continent series. Both the works are new to the market for art connoisseurs. The other important works from prominent artists include SH Raza’s 1998 work ‘Prakriti’ and ‘Srijan’ from 2007 and FN Souza’s ‘Profile’ and ‘Red Houses with Front Garden’ from 1957.

Some other artists on display include Jogen Chowdhury, Jamil Naqsh and Zarina Hashmi among others.

While the ten Company School paintings are all priced at a base bid under $1000, the other works have a range of starting bids between $6000 and $2,60,000.

“The costliest of the lot is Husain’s Arjun and Sudarshan Chakra which is a 40inch x 60 inch acrylic on canvas and has the potential to sell for anything between $300000 and $500000. This is followed by one of his other works -A Magician Dangles the Fortune Bird in a Cage which is an oil on canvas painted in 2005. The starting bid for the same is $1,80,000 and has the potential to sell for anything between $2,00,000 and $3,00,000,” said Lavesh Jagasia, founder of Artiana.

In a bid to make the deals lucrative for the buyers, Artiana’s finance arm is also offering an installment scheme which allows buyers to pay for an artwork in installments ranging from 3 months to 24 months at a service charge of 1 percent a month after paying 20 percent of the price as down payment.

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 35 – Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Sayed Haider Raza – Srijan – 2007 – acrylic on canvas – 57.5 x 45 in. (146 x 114.3 cm.) – Lot 35

Srijan, prominent artist S.H. Raza’s seminal work will be up the auction block on December 6-10, 2018 in ARTIANA’s South Asian art sale. The artist, one of India’s best colorists, is  best-known for works that are densely geometric; inviting viewers into deep meditation and contemplation. 

The focus of SH Raza’s art over the last decades has been to explore and represent the elements of nature, he used the language of symbols and saturated his canvases in geometric shapes and colors to produce powerful works that are contemplative and spiritual. Merging his background and training, he produced work both with deep Indian vision and French plastic mastery, enfolded in modernism yet with the deep resonance of the past. Raza repeatedly revisited his defining themes creating an extraordinary series of meditative and symbolic paintings.

In this piece, Srijan, which loosely translates to creation, Raza’s geometric vocabulary was apparent. Deeply immersed in ancient Indian cosmological symbolism, he celebrated the process of creation in an expansive interplay of visually disparate images sharing a collective narrative. The painting is divided into sections enclosing principle forms, each with strips of colours and variation of aligned triangles, with a black bindu in the upper center of the canvas. Just below that is a pair of bindu in red and blue representing male and female energies – close but not merging into each other. The colours, like most of his works, are remarkably vibrant with a concentration of red, orange, and earthy browns.

Supporting a central idea, Raza wields his unique visual language to reinforce the gestural idioms and philosophical aesthetics of his work. The painting seems to chronicle a story with the different patterned squares coming together to form the whole construct, with each fragment with its own metaphysical significance. The serpent-like painted circles of kundalini forming an unbroken continuity is the rejuvenation and the cyclical nature of life; the Bindu which is the primordial life-force in turn connects to germination which is conveyed with the use of triangular yonis; while the symbols of fire, water, earth, wind and sky embody elements that sustain life. The interconnectedness of the key components of the universe, simplified in Raza’s canvas.

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary’ – December 6-10, 2018

ARTIANA announces Online Auction of Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – No Buyer’s Premium – 6-10 December 2018

 

Maqbool Fida Husain (1915-2011), ‘Arjun and Sudarshan Chakra’ (circa 1980s). Estimate: $300,000-500,000

ARTIANA, UAE’s first home-grown auction house for art and luxury collectibles, will offer works  of modern and contemporary artists from the Indian subcontinent, including a suite of Company School paintings in its upcoming December auction. The auction will take place online at www.artiana.com from December 6 (6pm) till December 10 (9pm), 2018. The works listed in  the auction are available for viewing at Artiana’s viewing gallery.

The auction features 50 works in various media such as oils, acrylics and paper works by established masters such as M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, Jogen Chowdhury, Jamil Naqsh, Zarina Hashmi among others, alongside works by contemporary artists.

The highlights include M.F. Husain’s canvas from the 1980s titled ‘Arjun and Sudarshan Chakra’ as the cover lot of the sale and another work, ‘A Magician Dangles the Fortune Bird in a Cage’ from the seminal Lost Continent series; S.H. Raza’s ‘Prakriti’ (1998), ‘Srijan (2007) and F.N. Souza’s ‘Profile’ and ‘Red Houses with Front Garden’ both from 1957.

Besides Artiana’s attractive No Buyer’s Premium policy which essentially is ‘What You Bid Is What You Pay’, from this auction they have also launched FlexiPay – an installment scheme which allows buyers to ‘Bid Now Pay Later’ subject to eligibility and pre-approval prior to auction. (FlexiPay scheme details are available in the catalogue and on the website)

A print catalogue is available from Artiana upon request and the online catalogue can be viewed on their website. Collectors may place bids at ARTIANA’s website www.artiana.com, or through the mobile app available on both Google Play for Android and the App Store for Apple devices. 

For more information and registration, visit www.artiana.com; For viewing appointments, write to info@artiana.com or call ARTIANA’s help desk at +971558153030/ +971558253030

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary’ – December 6-10, 2018

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 31 – Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Francis Newton Souza – ‘Red Houses with Front Garden’ – 1957 – Oil on board – 36 x 24 in. (91.5 x 61 cm.) – Lot 31

Featured in ARTIANA’s upcoming online auction on December 6-10, 2018, is this striking painting by artist Francis Newton Souza – ‘Red Houses with Front Garden’. This work of the artist had been exhibited and published in South Asian Modern Masters of Grosvenor Gallery in London.

Francis Newton Souza is arguably one of the greatest and most celebrated painter in the history of Indian contemporary art. Versatile and spontaneous over the command of his pen and brush, his facility with his craft shows in the diversity of his works. From landscapes, nudes, still-life and to his widely popular strongly drawn heads, Souza spanned the entire gamut.

Painted in 1957, the picture is part of the culmination of both technique and subject in the artist’s prime decade. “Red Houses with Front Garden” depicts an English suburban landscape in Souza’s signature strong and expressive style. The houses, situated in a grassy space, are rendered in simple rectilinear structures punctuated by gnarled trees. The trees set in the foreground give the picture a sense of depth. Unlike other artists, Souza’s landscape is not figurative or life-like, instead they are vehicles of his mood and expression. Inspired by the ecclesiastical architecture of the Roman Catholic churches from his native Goa, the palette of the work was indicative of Souza’s interest in stained-glass windows illustrated with his use of luminous hues framed by dark outlines. Like his other landscapes, the sky appears stormy and turbulent lending a disconcerting sense in the otherwise peaceful scenario. This can be attributed to Souza’s angular brush strokes.

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary’ – December 6-10, 2018

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 42 – Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Artiana auction house will host its South Asian Art online auction on 6- 10 December 2018. Featuring a total of 50 lots, the sale boasts work from modern masters and leading contemporary artists from the Indian subcontinent. Marquee lots to go under the gavel at this auction will be exhibited for viewing at their Downtown Dubai gallery starting December 1st until the 6th by appointment. This includes Sayed Haider Raza’s seminal work,  ‘Prakriti’ (1998) estimated at $150,000 – $250,000. 

Sayed Haider Raza – Prakriti – 1998 – acrylic on canvas – 39.25 x 39.25 in. (100 x 100 cm.) – Lot 42

Throughout his career, Sayed Haider Raza has been influenced by the mystical power of nature. Drawn by his Indian heritage and driven by his desire for the elimination of the inessentials he began an extensive pictorial research of the elements, the potency of colors, and symbols which soon become the formal elements of his paintings. Preoccupied with the use of this elements, it became the center of Raza’s artistic vocabulary and true raison d’être – the purpose of the existence of his painting. He went on to perfect this symbolism throughout the 1980-1990s.

Maintaining harmony in the use of simple geometry and pure color, he adopted a symbolic language to represent different aspects of the natural world. The current work is delineated in sections, with each of them containing an image, usually in geometric shape suggesting the essence of the element. He uses primary colors to highlight the elements; fire, water, wind, earth and the sun. Here he utilizes vibrant red, electric blue, black, ochres and white colors which are also significant colors to the Indian tradition.

S. H. Raza exploits shapes, lines and diagonals to illustrate the union of forces in the universe not merely from form and color but also from their arrangement on the canvas. His works express a highly simplified perception of the powerful forces inherent in nature. “At the epicenter of many of these paintings is a dark, blank void. Emanating from this inner core the forms and shapes are like veins, energizing and giving life to the painting. The viewer begins a visual journey outwards from this centre, a journey through the elements of life itself. Raza explains that at the heart of this unique visual language lie the five key symbols of fire and water, earth, wind and sky, brought together within a geometric framework that also contains signifiers of fertility and fruitfulness, all together underlining the inevitable interrelationship of the key components of the universe and the interconnections of our humble lives within it” (S. H. Raza, Saffronart and Berkeley Square Gallery exhibition catalogue, 2005, not paginated).

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary – December 6-10, 2018

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 32 – Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Maqbool Fida Husain – A Magician Dangles the Fortune Bird in a Cage – 2005 -oil on canvas – 72 x 90 in. (182.9 x 228.6 cm.)- Lot 32

M.F. Husain’s ‘A Magician Dangles the Fortune Bird in a Cage’ (2005) is expected to go under the hammer on 6-10 December 2018 at ARTIANA’s South Asian Art online auction. This important work is part of the seminal ‘The Lost Continent’ Series exhibited at The Arts House in Singapore and at the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum in London. 

At the last years of his creativity, MF Husain, age 95 was India’s best known painter. During his long prolific career as an artist, he was witness as history unfolds; from the great wars being fought, through genocides and holocaust, the partition and the unfurling of his nation from the British Raj to modern India. He witnessed deprivation, violence and rapid deterioration of human values across the world. In pursuing the theme, he dedicated his art to express the great loss he called, “The Lost Continent” which he made into a 21-part series chronicling his thoughts about lost human values.

In the painting where a magician dangles the fortune bird in a cage, “the bird is surrounded by a mosaic of riotous colour. The bird is held by the stark blue hands of a magician, who is covered in a white cloth and slowly considering his next move. The composition lures viewers into a terrain where play and uncertainty coexist.”1 The title suggests a magician dangling the bird in a cage, just like in the popular magic trick; but behind the act is the magician knowing the true nature of the trick, concealed by the sleight of hand. Concurrently referencing Mahabharata, the blue hands signify Lord Krishna as he oversee the fate of the world. Starting from the game of dice, a key incident in the great epic, deceit had been a powerful driving force that ultimately led to the cosmic war from which the order of the universe was achieved. He orchestrated the war and change the whole course of the epic in ways more than one. Despite knowing the outcome, Lord Krishna let the events unfold and ensured that everyone answers to the laws of karma. Through the act of deception, he restore dharma into the world.

The immense narrative and pivotal personas that Husain picked from the epics convey deep meaning more than the explicit imagery. His symbolic images are introduced naturally in continual juxtaposition and serves as the foundation of his work. Husain used strong even coarse lines of Jain miniature painting to express energy and movement and sharp colors in basic simple design within strong broad border as influenced by the Basholi period. The demotic stylistics, the use of symbol, folk elements, and vibrant colors have come to characterize Husain’s signature style.

Text Reference:  Hwee Koon, MF Husain: The Lost Continent

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary – December 6-10, 2018

ARTIANA – Highlights – Company School Paintings – Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

A collection of Company School paintings will be offered as part of ARTIANA’s upcoming online auction on December 6-10, 2018. Showcasing the miniature tradition, the works, marked by muted colors, recorded everyday rituals of local people in British India between the late 1700s and 1800s. 

Company Painting – Brahmin with a water pot- Tanjore, c.1850 – gouache on paper – 18 x 11.1 cm (painting) – Lot 3

Southern Indian artists in the 18th century were among the first to adapt their styles and subject matters for their new patrons from the French and English East India Companies. Hindu deities and religious scenes had been the traditional decorations on the walls of temples throughout the south, so it was a simple matter for the artists to produce sets of deities and festivals on paper to inform westerners of the many unfamiliar aspects of south Indian Hinduism. These paintings were painted in brilliant colours against an uncoloured ground. It was again a relatively easy further step for these artists also to produce sets of occupations, castes, ascetics and festivals when British tastes changed to want permanent records of local life. The figures were normally in the early period painted in pairs, a man and his wife, originally standing on a simply painted ground and with a blue sky background behind them, sometimes with a narrow strip of tangled clouds at the top. Around 1800 more details of landscapes and more naturalistic clouds were added and the clouds began to cover the whole sky in jagged alternations of blue and grey.

Company Painting – Woman in thought- Tanjore, c.1850  -gouache on paper – 18 x 11.1 cm (painting) – Lot 4

Men from Tanjore of the muchi or leather-workers caste are thought to have been the artists of these sets, although inscriptions of some of the albums and paintings indicate that they must have moved to other towns, particularly Madras, in search of employment, where they continued to paint their traditional subjects. Other centres where they are known to have painted included Vellore and Trichinopoly. The artists based in Trichinopoly specialised in painting on small sheets of mica that were mounted on paper guards and bound into albums. By the mid-19th century the artists had often abandoned painting couples, a man and his wife, and instead concentrated on single figures, as found here in this set.

Company Painting – Wife of an ascetic – Tanjore, c.1850 – gouache on paper – 18 x 11.1 cm (painting) – Lot 8

The figures in the set are well drawn, lively and colourful, with good modelling of forms and facial features. Without inscriptions, however, some of the women especially are difficult to identify, but most are normally based on earlier identified figures. Many of the single women seem modelled on the ‘wife’ half of the earlier couples. The women normally wear the elaborate jewellery of the south, with various heavy earrings, hairpins, noserings, necklaces, bracelets and anklets, not detailed here.

EXPERT: J.P. Losty

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary’- December 6-10, 2018

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 41 – Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Sakti Burman – ‘Musicians Playing for Krishna’ – 2015 – Oil on canvas – 63.8 x 51.2 in. (162 x 130 cm.) – Lot 41

ARTIANA’s upcoming auction on December 6-10, 2018 features an important painting of Sakti Burman – ‘Musicians Playing for Krishna’. Painted in 2015, the notable work showcase Burman’s exceptional technique and whimsical ethos. 

Sakti Burman’s artistic vocabulary spawned from a mutually replenishing relay between two levels of mythological narrative. Much like his influences from both India and France, he organizes the narratives of his work from grand mythologies of the world with its vibrant iconography and from personal myth. He draws instinctively from varied religious traditions and folklores as much as he borrows from his everyday encounters. His frames are graced by families and friends often seen accompanying gods, nymphs, heroes and celestial emissaries into ethereal fantasy and reverie.

Sakti’s fascination with demotic imageries is apparent in the current lot. Employing the Kalighat ethos, he humanized Lord Krishna in the picture. Here, he presented the god as a child dancing with the cow as his mount. Lord Krishna as dancer and flautist is a recurrent object of painterly devotion for Burman. To one side stand a human father carrying his child and on the other side is a flautist. Seated below is an accordion player. Both musicians playing music to Krishna’s dancing and blurring the boundaries between the world of mortals and gods. The picture also includes Sakti’s recurring characters like harlequin and other mythical creatures joining in a blissful coexistence. Sakti conceives paradoxical imagery depicting familial relationships, celestial and terrestrial figures of dreams and perceived reality cohesively tying them in a powerful narrative.

“Child and Supreme God, serenader of women and killer demons, the divine flautist is often at the centre of a dance of other figures from Burman’s ongoing fantasia: sometimes, the peacock; at other times, a chorus of adolescents; on occasion, a centaur-like figure who prances yet remains melancholy, keeps the beat of the dance yet retains the detachment of the observer. Perhaps that centaur-like figure is, once again, the artist as chronicler and archivist of human dispositions, marking the rhythm of point and counterpoint.” (Ranjit Hoskote, Sakti Burman: In The Presence Of Another Sky, Art Musings, India, pg. 245)

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary’ – December 6-10, 2018

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 21 – Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

ARTIANA’s upcoming online auction of Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art on December 6-10, 2018 highlights this distinct work of Maqbool Fida Husain. This new-to-market work based on the Mahabharata is the most valuable lot in the upcoming sale, both in terms of price and history behind the artwork. 

Maqbool Fida Husain – ‘Arjun and Sudarshan Chakra’ – circa 1980s – Acrylic on canvas – 40 x 60 in. (102 x 153 cm.) – Lot 21

For decades, MF Husain had been a leading, almost magical figure in the Indian art scene. Known as the “Picasso of India”, his works have defined modern Indian painting and helped in creating a niche for Indian art, not only in the society of art but also in the prestigious art markets of the world. Enormously prolific, Husain, created works that could be caustic and funny as well as serious and sombre.

Among his best-known works are based on the Mahabharata. The Hindu epic narrates the founding of ancient India culminated by the Kurukshetra War fought between Pandava and Kauravan cousins in a dynastic struggle for the throne of Hastinapura, the seat of the Kuru clan. The present work portrays Lord Krishna and the Pandava prince Arjuna before the commencement of the climactic war. Arjuna stands at the chariot holding the Gandiva (bow) and his arrows. Lord Krishna, symbolized here by the abstract hand bearing the Sudarshan Chakra, was Arjuna’s charioteer and guide. Initially hesitant to go to war against his own kin, friends and teachers, Arjuna is persuaded otherwise by Lord Krishna. The dialogue between them formed the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most important texts of Hindu philosophy.

Accentuating the violence that forms the central core of the epic, the composition is dynamic. The strong influence of Indian folk art is indicated by the division of planes which may have been derived from the narrative style in Rajasthani miniature painting. Notably, present in the painting are all of Husain’s popular symbols; the tiger, the horses, the Sudarshan Chakra, and the mudra. His signature style and engagement with the folk elements is also evident in the sharp use of colors, simple design and broad shoulder attributed to the Basholi period. By predominantly using shades of red, black and brown, Husain conveyed the violence and frenzied energy of the war while palpable movement is conveyed through the stance of the horses and the charging tiger; enhancing the mood of the whole painting.

Husain’s treatment of the Mahabharata series is considered far more abstract in form yet has more narrative elements than the rest of his works. Most of them were done by Husain in early 1971, when India is on the brink of war with Pakistan and the Indian Emergency was on its way. Referencing the Mahabharata, before the start of the great war, Arjuna turns to Krishna for advice. Krishna advises him about the nature of life, ethics, and morality when one is faced with a war between good and evil. As with the great thinkers inspired by the epic including Husain himself, the allegory of war might signify the war constantly going on within man between the tendencies of good and evil yet it might also reflect the social and political landscape of the period. The ambiguity of Husain’s visual language allows for pluralistic readings much like the Mahabharata itself.

Husain unveiled his Mahabharata series as a thought provoking body of work as well as a timely reminder of the horrors of war. By transforming the mythic tragedy into a powerful contemporary statement, he evolved the language of his art to reach out to people in a culturally comprehensive way. An important tribute and reinterpretation, Husain uses this particular scene to explicitly call for reflection and in a way offer rationale and clarity in the midst of confusion and divisiveness.

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary’ – December 6-10, 2018

ARTIANA announces Online Auction of Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – No Buyer’s Premium – 6-10 December 2018

Browse the auction at www.artiana.com