ARTIANA Honors Pakistani Legend Jamil Naqsh With an Unmissable Online Auction

by Angie Kordic (Published May 15, 2020, for widewalls.ch)

Jamil Naqsh was someone who believed that ”an artist must work out his aesthetics and know where they are coming from; and that they must first be recognized and understood in his environment before venturing further.” The Pakistani master created work that is deeply personal and emotional, often focusing on the same subjects and recreating them in a variety of forms, each of them new and fresh, however.

He was a man who lived for his art until the very end, when on May 16, 2019 he died at the age of 79. Now, on the anniversary of his death, Lavesh Jagasia and his auction house ARTIANA are organizing a special sale honoring his legacy and remembering his life.

A collection of Jamil Naqsh’s rare and unseen works on paper, coming from the Jamil Naqsh Museum and the artist’s family, will be available for purchase online from May 16 through 31, 2020. The buyers can choose among 100 of his Quranic Calligraphies that feature verses from the beginning verse of the Holy Book. As delicate, dedicated abstractions, these pieces aim to offer comfort and solace in these trying times, and to once again reaffirm the genius and the sensitivity of Jamil Naqsh and his art.

We talk to ARTIANA’s Lavesh Jagasia about his own relationship with Jamil Naqsh, the works in this online auction, and why collectors should not miss it.

Left: Jamil Naqsh – Surah Fatheha, 2012. Mixed media on paper, 16.5 x 11.75 in. (42 x 29.7 cm.)
Right: Jamil Naqsh – Ayat Al Kursi, 2012. Mixed media on paper, 11.75 x 11.75 in. (29.6 x 29.7 cm.)

Honoring Jamil Naqsh

Widewalls: The upcoming ARTIANA auction is focusing solely on Jamil Naqsh. How would you describe your own connection to the artist and his work, as well as his family?

Lavesh Jagasia: My first meeting with Jamil Naqsh was about two decades ago in London. It was to discuss the publishing of his limited edition serigraphs, which I was focused on at that time, and was pursuing through The Serigraph Studio, an art publishing firm founded by me. This introductory meeting with him and Najmi Sura was scheduled to last for about an hour at the most, we all got along very well and were so engrossed in discussing art, art markets and it’s ecosystem that three hours had passed without realizing.

The artists that I worked with professionally were those whose works I also collected personally, and Jamil was one amongst them. The relationship both with Jamil and his family continued to grow and along with my progress in the art sphere.

ARTIANA has been successfully placing Jamil’s works through our auctions, and since the family wanted to continue with his objective of spreading his works to reach more people we collaboratively planned this auction, to achieve this objective and commemorate the artist.

Widewalls: This tribute to the great Master is paid in the form of 100 of his Quranic Calligraphies, which seem to be quite different from his “usual” paintings of the female form and pigeons. What can you tell us about these works?

LJ: Jamil Naqsh as an artist strongly believed that an artist must work out their aesthetics and always maintain a connection with their origin. He also believed that they must first be recognized and understood in their environment before venturing further.

Hence, the focus of his works on cultural traditions from his native Pakistan. Even his signature subjects of woman and pigeons, which you mention, were drawn from this and were inspired by traditional folklore and poetry.

The composition of the modern manuscripts and calligraphic representations of surahs from the Holy Book was a subject he worked extensively in the latter part of his life, as seen in this collection.

Widewalls: These are also works on paper. What kind of techniques were used by the artist in these instances?

LJ: The artist was a master painter and adept at various mediums and techniques of painting. This entire series was executed on paper using mixed media including acrylic paints to add an artistic and contemporary rendering of the otherwise traditional art of calligraphy.

Widewalls: The works contain verses from “The Surah Fatheha”, the beginning verse of the Holy Book. What are some of these writings? How would you say they resonate with the times we live in right now?

LJ: Yes, a good number of entries in the auction are based on ‘Surah Fatheha’, which actually is the first chapter of the Quran comprising seven verses, and is a prayer for the guidance, lordship, and mercy of God. This chapter has an essential role in Islamic prayer and serves as an opening for many functions in everyday Islamic life, hence resonates with the occasion, which is the commemoration of the artist on the first anniversary of his passing.

In the current environment as well it helps to spread similar sentiments of hope, guidance, and consolation.

Left: Jamil Naqsh – Healing Verse, 2012. Mixed media on paper, 16.5 x 11.75 in. (42 x 29.7 cm.)
Right: Jamil Naqsh – Surah Fatheha, 2012. Mixed media on paper, 11.5 x 12 in. (29.1 x 30.5 cm.)

Looking Ahead

Widewalls: The sale offers a unique opportunity for the collectors to acquire Naqsh’s affordable works. What would your advice for these collectors be?

LJ: The auction catalogue has been built with a focus on spreading the artists’ legacy through his works. An essential criterion to achieve this was to keep the estimates low allowing increased engagement, the family members owning the works were sensitive to the objective and agreed.

This has presented a very unique proposition for both new and established collectors to acquire Jamil Naqsh works with impeccable provenance at extremely attractive values, and I would recommend them to take advantage of this opportunity and collect more than one as they look wonderful when displayed in a group.

Widewalls: What’s next for ARTIANA?

LJ: It sounds counterintuitive, but thankfully Artiana has not been impacted by the current pandemic since we have always conducted our auctions online. Our position has in fact solidified due to the increased screen time of our audience, and we are now focused on presenting more sales this year. The current situation has forced many clients of ours to wean off print catalogues and effectively use only on our e-catalogues, for now, this has resulted in reduced time-lines required at our end for presenting new sales.

We have enhanced the capacity of our Private Sales vertical to include selling exhibitions, and are planning to hold an online selling exhibition for Sri Lankan artist Senaka Senanayake next month, all through June 2020. This will be followed by our Arts Beyond Borders sale scheduled for July 2020 and our calendar event South Asian Art sale in October. Our African Art department which has till now been including select works in our combined sales will hold its inaugural auction at the end of this year.

You can see ARTIANA’s Jamil Naqsh e-catalog here.

Left: Jamil Naqsh – Kalma, 2012. Mixed media on paper, 16.5 x 11.75 in. (42 x 29.7 cm.)
Right: Jamil Naqsh – Part of Surah Fatheha, 2012. Acrylic on paper, 16.5 x 11.75 in. (42 x 29.7 cm.)

ARTIANA – Jamil Naqsh (Works on Paper) – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium – 16 – 31 May 2020

ARTIANA, UAE’s first home-grown auction house for art and luxury collectibles, is offering 100 paper works by Pakistani artist, Jamil Naqsh in their upcoming auction on May 16 to May 31. This sale is a tribute to the artist on the anniversary of his passing and offers a unique opportunity for friends, collectors, and enthusiasts alike to pay homage to the master and acquire one of his works with impeccable provenance.  

The collection, exclusively from the Jamil Naqsh Family collection, showcases calligraphy works on paper in various media such as acrylic and ink, among others. These works which feature calligraphic interpretations of surahs from the Holy Qur’an provides a myriad of the artist’s works centered on his faith. Incidentally, the collection was curated with the majority of the lots based on Surah Fatheha, the first chapter in the Holy Book, which is traditionally prayed on funerals – to offer consolation, hope, and comfort to the departed loved one and his family on the occasion. 

The collection will be sold from May 16 (9:00 am) through May 31 (9:00 pm) UAE time through an online auction at www.artiana.com, offering ample time for interested parties to take part in. Along with that, the entire sale will be conducted with Artiana’s No Buyer’s Premium policy in an essentially ‘What You Bid Is What You Pay’ format. FlexiPay which allows buyers to ‘Bid Now Pay Later’ will also be available for eligible clients. (FlexiPay scheme details are available on their website.)

The catalogue can be viewed online on their website and alternatively on ISSUU. Due to the current COVID situation, gallery viewings are suspended; however, condition reports will be available upon request. 

Collectors may place bids at ARTIANA’s website, or through the mobile app available on both Google Play for Android and the App Store for Apple devices.

For information on how to register and bid, visit their website at www.artiana.com; For assistance and inquiries, call Artiana’s Help Desk at +971 55 815 3030 or write to info@artiana.com. 

Auction Catalogue – Jamil Naqsh (Works on Paper) – From The Jamil Naqsh Family Collection – May 16-31, 2020

ARTIANA announces Online Auction of Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – No Buyer’s Premium – 12-16 March 2020

Browse the auction at www.artiana.com

ARTIANA, UAE’s first home-grown auction house for art and luxury collectibles, is offering 40 artworks from the Indian subcontinent in their South Asian Art auction on March 12 to March 16. Showcasing a broad and inclusive range of fine works in various media such as oils, acrylics, and paper works, the auction feature works by modernist masters including members of the Progressive Artist’s Group (PAG) – M.F. Husain, S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza – and leading contemporary artists from the region like Paresh Maity and Jogen Chowdhury among others.  

Leading the auction is M.F. Husain’s ‘Perhaps these three horses are like three cheers to my Knighthood’ painted in 1989 with impeccable provenance, and another seminal work, ’Battle of Karbala’ painted in 1990. 

The collection also includes exceptional pieces from S.H. Raza providing a glimpse of the artist’s more spiritual works, including ‘Toi-Moi’ painted in 2004 which alludes to one of Sant Tukaram’s abhang and an almost monochromatic work titled ’Shanti-Bindu’ painted in 2001. A rare work from F. N. Souza from 1993 also features in the auction titled ‘Psychiatrist and Wife’ highlighting the artist’s virtuosity and commitment to his inner muse. 

ARTIANA will also offer various works from prominent artist Sakti Burman, along with Ram Kumar’s semi-abstracted landscapes, and Krishen Khanna’s bandwallahs. A collection of Jamil Naqsh’s works comprising of his signature subjects and calligraphy pieces are also part of the sale catalogue. 

The collection will be sold through an online auction at www.artiana.com from March 12 (6:00 pm) through March 16th (9:00 pm) UAE time with a No Buyer’s Premium policy in an essentially ‘What You Bid Is What You Pay’ format. FlexiPay which allows buyers to ‘Bid Now Pay Later’ will also be available for eligible clients. (FlexiPay scheme details are available on their website.)

The catalogue can be viewed online, and viewings can be arranged by prior appointment. Collectors may place bids at ARTIANA’s website, or through the mobile app available on both Google Play for Android and the App Store for Apple devices.

For information on how to register and bid, visit their website at www.artiana.com; For assistance and inquiries, call Artiana’s Help Desk at +971 55 815 3030 or write to info@artiana.com. 

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art – ‘Modern and Contemporary’ – March 12 -16, 2020

In Memoriam | Akbar Padamsee

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of one of South Asia’s eminent artists, Akbar Padamsee.

One of the primary figures of Indian art, he made a career defined by free-thinking, experimentation and individuality. He worked on a wide variety of media but focused on a few chosen genres including prophets, heads, couples, still-life, grey works, metascapes and mirror images.

In his passing, he left behind a stellar legacy of masterpieces from his almost seven-decade long career. But shall always be remembered as one of the greats who put Indian art into the world stage and shattered preconceived notions of what Indian art should be and could be.

Relentless and dedicated to his craft until the end, he candidly said in one of his last interviews, “It is not possible to master the art of painting in such a short lifetime. I have been a painter in my past births and I am continuing the tradition.”

ARTIANA – F.N. Souza Works on Paper Auction | Auction Results

Our recently concluded Francis Newton Souza: Works on Paper auction was a success, with 62% of the lots sold and USD 173,400 total sales.

For the complete auction result and analysis, please visit www.artiana.com.

Thank you for your bids! 

Auction Catalogue – F.N. Souza Works on Paper – The Ravi and Uma Jain Collection – 5 – 9 December 2020

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 50 – F.N. Souza Works on Paper – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium – 5-9 December 2019

Untitled (Flying Angel) – 1993 – acrylic on paper – 14.75 x 21.5 in. (37.6 x 54.6 cm.)

The current lot is reminiscent of the artist’s ‘Figures in Landscape, Freeport, Bahamas’ which was painted in 1971 and evokes the feeling of enjoying under the sun and lazing on the beach. F.N. Souza used bright sunlit colors to portray a sense of lightness that is so dissimilar from his usual and dark palette choices. Aside from the uncharacteristic palette choice, the picture appears to have been executed perfunctorily without much attention to details of the figure.

Auction Catalogue – F.N. Souza Works on Paper – The Ravi and Uma Jain Collection – 5 – 9 December 2020

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 46 – F.N. Souza Works on Paper – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium – 5-9 December 2019

F.N. Souza routinely came back to his favorite motifs throughout his career. A recurrent theme of his works was the conflicts in man-woman relationships with an emphasis on sexual tension and friction, as seen in the current image executed in 1974. 

Untitled (1974) -pen and ink on paper – 10.75 x 7.75 in. (27.1 x 19.9 cm.)

In the drawing, he was able to maintain an excellent economy on his use of line while still managing to capture fine details. He employed an abundance of detailing, which made up the overall structure of his subjects. Disfigured and malformed, this image of a couple was part of the ‘mutant’ studies that Souza did in conjecture with nuclear warfare in what he predicted as the eventual downfall of man.

Auction Catalogue – F.N. Souza Works on Paper – The Ravi and Uma Jain Collection – 5 – 9 December 2020

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 43 – F.N. Souza Works on Paper – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium – 5-9 December 2019

Untitled (1972) – chemical alterations on paper – 13.25 x 10.25 in. (33.4 x 26.2 cm.)

After F.N. Souza left London in 1967, he lived in New York, where he continued to experiment with new ways of creating landscapes and figurative works. His painting in the following decades included uniquely rendered chemical drawings that demonstrate color palettes of vivid hues, as seen in the current image.

Souza’s women were frankly sexual and shockingly exposed themselves. In each of his works, they become more and more voluptuous, and all the more revealing and sordid. Conversely, his women are awe-inspiring in their unabashed display and ownership of their sexuality, yet on the flip side is Souza’s belief in women as objects of sexual gratification.

Auction Catalogue – F.N. Souza Works on Paper – The Ravi and Uma Jain Collection – 5 – 9 December 2020

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 40 – F.N. Souza Works on Paper – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium – 5-9 December 2019

Untitled (1993) – acrylic on paper – 11.5 x 17.5 in. (29 x 44.4 cm.) 

The genre of the landscape was a cornerstone of F.N. Souza’s oeuvres as much as his scathing portraits and nudes. Like many of his works, he articulates his particular brand of imagery in them exhibiting an uncompromising commitment to his inner muse. 

The present lot, painted in 1993, two decades after his move from London to New York, encapsulates a particularly joyful period in the life of the artist. Souza’s painting style from previous decades evolved, becoming looser, slightly abstracted, and full of bright colors. He produced works depicting nature and flowery images using colorful pigments that evoke a carefree and light atmosphere. Repeatedly emphasizing nature being the sole principle – a tenet of “Redmonism,” the colors that he concocted seem almost to rival those of life itself. Here, the limits of the picture plane are disregarded; the leaves break off into a sea of green, and branches like vines appear in the foreground as a means to create perspective. 

Souza’s landscapes are ultimately lyrical with unrestrained enthusiasm in the application of colors. The effects of the vibrant and gestural color schemes belong to a world of memories captured in the richness of Souza’s vision.

Auction Catalogue – F.N. Souza Works on Paper – The Ravi and Uma Jain Collection – 5 – 9 December 2020

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 21 – F.N. Souza Works on Paper – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium – 5-9 December 2019

Religion may be the root and theme of many of F.N. Souza’s work, but it was also his compulsion. It played an integral part in his art, along with another of his obsession, which was female nudity. The fact that Souza was so bitterly critical of the Catholic Church yet so obsessed with making dozens of images around biblical themes was so indicative of the tremendous mental anguish he endured. 

Untitled (Head of Christ) – 1989 – ink on paper -10.5 x 8.25 in. (26.8 x 20.8 cm.)

A true iconoclast, he paid no reverence in the depiction of Jesus, the core of the Christian religion; instead, he portrayed him just using his signature strong blacklines without any colors, embellishments, pomp, or details associated with religious establishments. Even the expression reflected is that of sadness or hardship, basing from Souza’s whole theological position and convictions of suffering without redemption.

Souza made his mark as a profound artist by producing visually intense and often disturbing works. With his exceptional skills, he disturbed accepted notions of aesthetics and jolted stereotypical perceptions about religion, sin, and oppressive political orders, which he depicted in many of his art.

Auction Catalogue – F.N. Souza Works on Paper – The Ravi and Uma Jain Collection – 5 – 9 December 2020