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

Indian Miniature Painting – Maharao Ram Singh Killing a Buffalo – Kota, c.1830-40 – opaque pigments and gold on paper – 15.5 x 24.5 cm (painting)

Part of the upcoming online auction of South Asian Art are miniature paintings from the Indian subcontinent, showcasing different schools of classical paintings from 17th to 19th century. This one in particular uses opaque pigments and gold on paper, a medium unique in classical Indian miniature painting. 

Maharao Ram Singh of Kota (r. 1827-66) is one of the best represented of Rajput rulers with many aspects of his life both public and personal documented by his artists. He is represented in durbars with his court and with British officials, in the many festivals of the Hindu calendar, including Dussehra as here, the Asapura festival (Kreisel 1995, fig. 132), and the riotous spring festival of Holi (Topsfield 1980, pl. 7), as well as personal worship of the deities (Seyller 2015, no. 60) , and of course many scenes of personal interest such as riding an elephant on top of the chajja of a pavilion in 1853 (Ehnbom1985, no. 64), playing polo with his noblemen (Welch 1997, no 63), entering Delhi in 1842 (ibid., no. 65), and scenes of him enjoying himself with his women (Seyller 2015, no. 61). Here, he is celebrating the autumnal Dussehra festival, commemorating the slaying of the buffalo-headed demon Mahishasura by the Devi, by hunting and killing a buffalo in a ritual slaying. Other pictures suggest that this was not a solitary affair but was a communal ceremony undertaken with his nobles (Kreisel ed. 1995, fig. 133).

In our splendidly energetic painting, the Maharao is gorgeously apparelled in helmet and body armour, with room of course for jewels, over a lilac jama. He carries a small shield in his left hand which holds the reins, while an empty scabbard is by his side, the sword being used to slice at the neck of the buffalo, which is falling to the ground behind the horse. The horse is even more gorgeously caparisoned than the Maharao, with its tasselled mane, jewelled bridle and many chains with attached gold plates. Two attendants run beside on foot, one with a khanda sword and a chowrie, and the other with a sun-burst parasol. The latter may also be carrying an upright spear, unless it is attached to the horse in some way or held by an invisible attendant. The scene is set below a plain green hillside dotted with a few trees and with a walled garden near the summit of the hill.

The Maharao here appears relatively young, being without his full set of bushy sideburns that grew gradually over the course of his reign. He came to the throne at the age of 19 and one of his earliest datable portraits shows him about 25 (Bautze’s fig. 14 in Welch et al. 1997, p. 53), when his sideburns were already heavier than they are in our painting. His profile with its bulbous ending to the nose and protruding lips is instantly recognisable.

The horse rolls its eyes as the buffalo falls dying to the ground, its horns obtruding into the margin, but Ram Singh’s grave face is devoid of the pleasure of the hunt but rather intent on doing his ritual duty. A later and rather stiffer picture dated 1859 in the Mittal Museum in Hyderabad (Seyller ed. 2015, no. 63) shows the same ritual killing of the buffalo but with the Maharao using a spear rather than a sword, while a preliminary drawing for that painting is in the V&A Museum (Archer 1959, Kotah fig. 49).

Expert: J. P. Losty

Auction Catalogue-South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary-March 23-27, 2017

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

Maqbool Fida Husain – ‘Islam’ – 1992 – acrylic on canvas – 78 x 139 in. – Lot 41

ARTIANA’s upcoming online auction of Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art on March 23-27, 2017 highlights this distinct work of Maqbool Fida Husain. This painting is the most valuable lot in the upcoming sale, both in terms of price and history behind the artwork. 

‘Theorama’ is a ten panel series that was influenced by Husain’s past preoccupations with theosophy and his experiences as a billboard painter. Composed in the early 90s, Theorama tributes ten different faiths — highlighting what Husain sees as the finer aspects in each; these are strung together in the series to symbolise a sense of unity or a common thread. ‘Islam’ is Husain’s masterly depiction of the Muslim faith.

To the left is a Sufi saint with his finger of ‘Kalema e Shahadah’ raised. The black and majestic cube of Kaabah, inscribed with the Arabic ‘Kaaf’, is positioned at the heart of the image, emphasising its prominence in no uncertain terms. A circle beside the Kaabah represents the dome of the The Prophet’s mosque in Madinah and is inscribed with the alphabet ‘Meem’. ‘Al-buraq’, the lightning horse, gallops across the sky to the right while the ‘Al-Shaqqul Qamar’, the splitting moon — an Islamic symbol of the scientific temper — watches over. ‘Al-Loh-al-Mehfooz’, the book of Judgement Day, also sits prominently to the right.

This simple yet substantial homage to Islam is brought about through a keen use of colour and line. These, along with tasteful use of religious motifs and symbolism, assembled together with an intimacy and personal reverence, lends this painting the distinctness for which it is known.

Auction Catalogue-South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary’-March 23-27, 2017

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 46 – Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

SH Raza – ‘Emergence’ – 1988 – acrylic on canvas – 31.5 x 31.5 in. – Lot 46

Syed Haider Raza’s ‘Emergence’, published on the cover and inside of ‘Raza’ by Alain Bonfand and the cover lot of our upcoming auction on March 23-27, 2017.

In his meditations on colour and their emotive qualities, Raza was taken back to his childhood. It was a voyage, so to speak, back to the moist and pregnant ground where experiences were naked and free from the shell of words. This apprehending of the ‘source’ — the point of emergence — is a spiritual element captured best in the Bindu. This is arguably why it has remained pivotal to Raza’s repertoire.

Drawing from Raza’s own words: “The point, the Bindu, symbolises the seed bearing the potential of all life, in a sense. It’s also a visible form containing all the essential requisites of line, tone, colour, gesture, and space.”

Since the 1970s, Raza began to visibly emphasise his Indian identity. This is evidenced in his frequent visits to India. His concepts and colours at the time were distinctly akin to Indian spiritual thought but their plasticity, however, remained their most striking quality. The Bindu figured prominently in his paintings in this period. It was a starting point that brought together geometry, colour, space and several aspects of Indian aesthetics. The circle, one recalls, is a figure within which every geometric shape can be featured.

The late 1970s witnessed a considerable change in his style of painting. He preferred basic geometric figures and the primary palette in his compositions. The Bindu was reinstated in ‘Emergence’ (1988) as the centre of his contemplations: a radiant circle emerging from within a square, flanked by distinct carves of bright colour. The Bindu is black but illumined — a sighting of the source in the silent minute of meditation.

Understanding Raza: Many ways of looking at a Master, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi, 2013, p. 52

Auction Catalogue-South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary’-March 23-27, 2017

An art auction sans buyer’s premium

jamil-naqsh-woman-pigeon

Woman and Pigeon by Jamil Naqsh, oil on canvas, 2006

Published: October 7, 2016 (Gulf News)

By Jyoti Kalsi (Special to Weekend Review)

Art collectors interested in modern and contemporary South Asian works by masters can bid online from October 13

Dubai-based online auction house Artiana will hold its second online auction of modern and contemporary South Asian art from October 13 to October 17. The auction offers 60 lots of paintings and sculptures by well-known modern and contemporary artists from the Indian subcontinent. Highlights of the sale include a rare diptych from Akbar Padamsee’s “Mirror Image” series; S.H. Raza’s acclaimed work “Duvidha”; and important works by Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan masters such as M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, Jogen Chowdhury, B. Prabha, Laxma Goud, Sakti Burman, Jamil Naqsh and Senaka Senanayake. A unique feature of Artiana is that it does not charge a buyer’s premium.
The auction catalogue is available at www.artiana.com, and the artworks can also be viewed by appointment at Artiana’s viewing gallery in Downtown Dubai until October 12.
Artiana was founded in March this year by Lavesh Jagasia, a Dubai-based art connoisseur who runs the art consultancy The Fine Art Advisory and The Serigraph Studio, which collaborates with leading South Asian artists to create high-quality serigraphs of their works.

“Artiana is the first homegrown auction platform of its kind in the region launched to create a seamless and fair interface between buyers and sellers across the globe. We want to introduce transparency and accurate price determination of rare and collectible artworks by established artists to help collectors acquire genuine works at fair prices. While most auction houses charge a buyer’s premium of 25 to 30 per cent on the final bid, our ‘No Buyer’s Premium’ policy means that buyers can bid with the assurance that there will be no additional charges over the winning bid amount. Artiana’s in-house delivery and logistics infrastructure further reduces the cost of the transaction, ensuring that both sellers and buyers get the best possible price,” Jagasia says.
The auction will begin at 6pm on October 13 and close between 7 and 9pm on October 17. Buyers can register at www.artiana.com, and they can place their bids in advance or at any time during the auction through Artiana’s state-of-the-art proprietary auction application software. They can also participate via the Artiana mobile app, which is available at the App Store and Google Play.

Jyoti Kalsi is an arts-enthusiast based in Dubai.
For more information and registration, visit www.artiana.com
For viewing appointments, write to auction@artiana.com

Source: An art auction sans buyer’s premium

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

ramachandran-brown-final

K.G. Subramanyan – The Visitor – 1994 – Acrylic on Canvas – 54 x 54 in. – Lot 31 

ARTIANA’s  upcoming auction on October 13-17, 2016 features an important painting of K.G. Subramanyan – ‘The Visitor’. This iconic work of the artist has been exhibited in his retrospective and published in the book K.G. Subramanyan: A Retrospective, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, 2003.

The philosophical and mystic traditions of India are replete with stories and symbols. The ease and clarity with which these convey the deeper narratives and connotations intended from them, appeal powerfully to the artistic eye. The number ‘three’ is very significant in the philosophical symbolism of the Shaiva and Advaita traditions. Shiva is considered to be the singular principle of all existence, the Brahman. He manifests Himself as the One Conciseness that illumines the three states of experience: the waking, dreaming and deep sleep states. He is also considered the pervader of all three worlds — heaven, earth and hell — and the ground on which the past, present and future are conjoin to form the progression of time.

“In this painting Subramanyan uses the colours of the earth, images of animal skins and the trees to create a dense visual field. The Visitor seems to refer to the iconography of Shiva who appears here with the three faces of a trimukha, a snake, suspended from his right shoulder. The fact that the face is rendered like a mask adds to the piquant quality of the painting. Shiva’s conventional seat, the hide of the spotted deer appears in different parts of the painting. This work is typical of Subramanyan’s involvement with myth, his ability to rework it for his own purposes. It also demonstrates what he calls the bahurupee or disguise in play ‘mixing the normal with the hieratic’, the human with the mythic, the world of play and the imagination” (Gayatri Sinha, Jiva – Life: Contemporary Indian Art, Bodhi Art Exhibition Catalogue, Singapore, 2004, p.46).

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 28 – Modern And Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

padamsee-bright

Akbar Padamsee – Mirror image – 2003 – Oil on Canvas – 48 x 96 in. – Lot 28

An exceptional and rare painting of Akbar Padamsee from his Mirror Image series leads our upcoming auction on 13 October, 2016.

Inspired from his iconic Metascapes series, Padamsee’s Mirror Images draws on the elements – earth, water, fire, air – to present a new series of reflection. In Mirror Images, the dual aspects of every event in nature is emphasised on two separate canvasses, one representing the apparent and the other, its inverse. To Padamsee, the chasm, that separates opposites such as exhalation and inhalation, the conscious and the unconscious , is manifest even in the compliments of colour, form and space.

This series features Padamsee’s well-known fascination for ideas of duality and iteration and their depiction on the picture-plane. In Mirror Images, the artist has relied on two halves to form a complete image; in each half, forms are not mirrored but echoed in the other, thus forming dual representations of similar realities. “These works bring together the artist’s philosophical interests with his formal interests in color […] Dualities seem to define the career of Akbar Padamsee; an Indian who uses European forms, a colorist who paints monochrome works, who uses oil as much as he relies on ink and deploys both line and stain, a figurative painter who paints sublime landscapes, and an artist who is intuitive as he is intellectual.” (Amrita Jhaveri, A Guide to 101 Modern and Contemporary Indian Artists, Mumbai, 2005, p. 60).

“Space-cognition and time-cognition depend on a compound duality, inside-outside, expansion-contraction, exhalation-inhalation, the round and the square. We inhale, the trees exhale, we exhale, the trees inhale, a mirrored symbiosis. Expression must contain its dialectical opposite, the conscious and unconscious on the same psychic plane. I have two eyes, two retinas, but the mind compounds the two images into one […] Colours expand and contract, colours reach out of their skins to invade each other’s territories, the blue goes in search of its complementary counterpart yellow or orange. The further away from each other I place them the greater the space and the voyage.” (Artist quote, Mirror-Images, Exhibition Catalogue, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, 1994, unpaginated).

Syed Haider Raza (1922-2016)

S.H. Raza in his studio
Raza during his early years in his Paris studio

A dot marks an end in script. However, when speaking of Syed Haider Raza, a special legend it led to new beginnings, both in his early years and later in his art journey. Raza was a restless young man with an unbridled mind. While at school, his teacher drew a dot on a wall, trying to make him focus on it with the intention of calming his wandering mind. Raza recollects this incident as formative in his approach to art and even life.

A visual depiction of the sacred through the modern idiom invokes only one name in Indian art – Raza. His early years by the Narmada valley shaped his perspectives on culture, tradition, religion and their broader interpretations through art. His deep meditations on these subjects, all through his artistic journey, resulted in the emergence of a unique motif in Indian contemporary art – the ‘bindu’.

Raza’s art was nothing short of an obsession. This obsession wasn’t limited to a certain theme, but was a quality of mind that pursued everything it touched – whether it be geometry, theology or natural phenomena – with an encompassing intensity. His fascination and love for poetry, nature, and the elements at large inspired him. His exposure and training in Paris were ideal in shaping this enthusiasm. Raza’s landscapes were therefore strong, vibrant and even his ‘Bindu’ was derived from the intimacy he maintained with his themes. He reflects on this in his own words: “Painting is something alive as human beings in its different manifestations… It is a vital process of becoming. Just imagine how fascinating it is that the seed contains the total inherent forces of a plant, of animal life, and so on and so forth. And that could be the same process in form too!”

Raza will be remembered as an indispensable force that energised the modern art movement in India. His emergence as a modern artist was at a time when the genre was struggling to find its unique language in the country and his was an influence that catalysed this seminal art movement.

At 94, Raza left behind a verse from the Bhagavad Gita in his personal diary:
Hidden in Nature, which is Mine [My] own,
I emanate forth again and again
All these multitudes of being
necessarily by the force of nature.

Bhagavad Gita – IX, 8.

Raza found and met art at the source of his being; the beauty of this encounter is that it is one that continues to flourish, in the minds of all those who seek from it, even in times that know him no more.

s-h-raza_feature-image
raza-in-paris-studio

Kalapathy Ganapathy Subramanyan (1924-2016)

young-kgs-lo-res

Kalapathy Ganapathy Subramanyan, fondly referred to as ‘Mani-da’, was a student at the Presidency College. He grew up under the influence of the Indian nationalist movement that was sweeping through much of British India. A Gandhian at heart, he participated in the Quit India Movement. Having learnt that Rabindranath Tagore’s Santiniketan was a destination of sorts for nationalists and artistes alike, Subrahmanyan began his artistic journey at the Visvabharati’s Kala Bhavan, where he had had the distinct privilege of training under stalwarts like Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar Baij and Benode Behari Mukherjee.

Subramanyan tended to view art integrally and did not restrict him self to any particular artistic tradition. He worked on children’s illustrations, toy-making, wood-cut printing, terracotta reliefs and glass painting; he also developed a deep understanding of the mural traditions in India while apprenticing under Benode Behari Mukherjee.

Subramanyan’s approach, similar to his contemporaries, was influenced by European modernism; but his art practice which was very individualistic and progressive, based on his deep understanding of folk and rustic cultures in India. His style encompassed the formal contours of modernism, Santinikentan’s narrative tradition and the visual skill of Indian folk traditions. He engaged with complex images that were steeped in myth and narrative and improvised through various levels including technique, practice and skill. His search for pure meaning was evident in his work; in this effort, nothing was excluded — contrasting elements of life, including conflict and serenity, love and disdain, truth and denial, had their place in the scheme of this thought. In this was included irony, a certain sense of revisionism and a freedom from defined genres. In his own words, he says: “My work, so to say, deconstructs an old concept and sees its similarities with others.”

Subramanyan was also an accomplished writer and would often elaborate on his creative themes through his essays and stories. This quality of Manida being a storyteller was infused in his work very significantly.

His legacy was unparalleled both as an artist and teacher that served to inspire an entire generation of Indian artists after him.

K. G. Subrahmanyan’s passing away has created a vacuum in Indian art – not just of an extraordinary artist, but of a writer, teacher and philosopher. His contribution stands in many shades and isn’t likely to fade in our memory.

6-kg-subramanian

A click-and-mortar gallery for South Asian art

F.N.SOUZA - HEAD


F. N. Souza – ‘Head’ – acrylic and black marker pen on colour printed paper

Published: 15:26 March 2, 2016 (Gulf News)

By Jyoti Kalsi (Special to Weekend Review)

This month, Artiana will hold its first auction of 60 lots that include paintings, works on paper and sculptures by modern masters and contemporary artists

Artiana, an online auction platform for modern and contemporary South Asian art will hold its first auction from March 17 to March 21. The 60 lots on sale include oil and acrylic paintings, works on paper and sculptures by modern masters and leading contemporary artists from South Asia such as S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, Ganesh Pyne, M.F. Hussain, Akbar Padamsee, Jehangir Sabavala, Sakti Burman, Laxma Goud, Himmat Shah, Ismail Gulgee, Senaka Senanayake and George Keyt.

The artworks can be viewed at Artiana’s viewing gallery in Business Bay, Dubai, and online at www.artiana.com. The auction will commence at 6pm on March 17 with the final sales beginning at 7pm on March 21. Registered buyers can also place advance bids. A unique feature of this virtual auction house is that it does not charge a buyers’ premium on sales.

Artiana has been founded by Lavesh Jagasia, an art connoisseur, collector and consultant, who runs the Dubai-based art consultancy, The Fine Art Advisory, and art publishing company, The Serigraph Studio, which collaborates with leading South Asian artists to create high-quality serigraphs of their works.

“Artiana bridges the gap between traditional and online auction houses with a unique click-and-mortar hybrid that offers personalised client consultations, printed auction catalogues and a viewing gallery, along with timed online auctions that are accessible to people living in different time zones, and in-house delivery and logistics infrastructure. Our aim is to offer collectors of South Asian art from around the globe an opportunity to acquire genuine artworks at fair prices. We want to redefine and streamline the auction process, and create a seamless and transparent interface between buyers and sellers, that delivers the excitement of art auctions through the convenient medium of the internet,” Jagasia says.

“As a collector, I know how stressful it is to make quick bidding decisions in the charged, competitive atmosphere of an auction house. Buyers also have to keep in mind the buyers’ premium that ranges from 20 to 35 per cent of the sale price, while making their bid. With our state-of-the-art proprietary auction application software, registered buyers can bid from the comfort of their home, and from any android or iOS device, either before or during the auction. With no premium or taxes to pay, buyers will pay exactly the amount they have bid, while sellers will get access to a global market as well as the best possible price,” he adds.

The artworks will be displayed at Artiana’s viewing gallery in Business Bay, Dubai until March 16. For viewing appointments and buyer registration, write to info@artiana.com