ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 35 – Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium – 13-17 June 2019

F.N. Souza (1924 -2002 ) – ‘La Place Town Square’ – 1955 – 24 x 30 in. (61 x 76.2 cm.) – oil on board – Lot 35

One of India’s greatest modernists, Francis Newton Souza catapulted to fame in post-war London in the 1950s. The present lot, painted in 1955, belongs to this iconic period of the artist’s career expressing his feelings and anxieties of the postwar era and reflecting on his own personal anguish.

The subject matter of La Place Town Square, is rather traditional compared to Souza’s other works, it is a typical French town with rustic buildings and a well depicted in an earthy palette. With hints of cubism and thick dark outlines, the hallmark of his work in this period, the houses appeared boxy while the well in the forefront gives the picture a sense of depth. The barren tree with spines for leaves depicted alongside uninviting windowless houses creates an atmosphere that is desolate, cold and unwelcoming reflecting perhaps the initial reaction to his works when he arrived in London a few years before. Looming above the townscape is Souza’s signature rendering of the sky, brooding and stormy conveying a sense of gloom. 

“The graphic power of Souza’s lines produces simplified and bold images, while the thick oil paints applied liberally to the board or canvas, with swift strokes, give his work a sense of vitality and movement…Cityscapes, constructed from fragmented images and memories, are also important subjects and perhaps suggestive of Souza’s cosmopolitan life and frequent traveling.” (FN Souza: Icons of a Modern World, All Too Human, Tate London, 28 February – 27 August 2018, Exhibition Catalogue, p. 20)

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art – ‘Modern and Contemporary – 13-17 June 2019

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 24 – Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium – 13-17 June 2019

S.H. Raza is considered one of the best colorist of his time. He made use of western plastic techniques and combined it with an aesthetic that is truly Indian to come up with a visual language that truly was his own.

S. H. Raza ( 1922-2016) – ‘Kundalini’ – 2002 – 15.75 x 15.75 in. (40 x 40 cm.) – acrylic on canvas – Lot 24

Sayed Haider Raza began to conceive and express nature and its elements in terms of geometric patterns and primary colors rooted from deep spiritual motif by the 1970s. Since then, the elements and symbols associated with ancient Indic iconography frequently appeared in his paintings.

In the present work, Raza depicts the ‘Kundalini’ which roughly translates to coiled one in Sanskrit. It is represented as a curled serpent and believed to be the primal force of energy both in the body and the universe. This principle is manifested in this painting by the snake-like coil of painted circles that intersperse and radiates outwards.

In the center is a white bindu enclosed by intertwined nagas, while black and red concentric rings radiate around it. These interlocking forms recall the opposing though balancing forces of yin and yang and reflect on the duality present in the universe –male and female, day and night, light and dark– that sustains the cosmic cycle of life. In the background, he used colors that constitute the visible world; white, red, blue, yellow, and black that also represents the fundamental elements of creation.

Note: This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonne of the artist currently being prepared by A. Macklin.

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art – ‘Modern and Contemporary’ – 13-17 June 2019

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 30 – Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium – 13-17 June 2019

Leading ARTIANA’s upcoming South Asian sale is this exquisite work from M.F. Husain’s Raj Series – ‘Kathak Dance Performance at the Maharaja Darbar’ painted in 1989 with impeccable provenance.

M.F. Husain – ‘Kathak Dance Performance at the Maharaja Darbar’ – 1989 – 40 x 60 in. (101 x 152.4 cm.) – acrylic on canvas – Lot 30

“In the mid-1980s, at the height of his celebrity as India’s most famous and flamboyant modernist and living artist, Maqbool Fida Husain cast his painterly eye back half a century and more, to a time when much of the subcontinent was still under British rule. This sharp – and surprising – (re)turn to India’s recent colonial past resulted in some among the most insightful, and also most playful, of works in different media to emerge from the brush of this prolific and imaginative artist.”1

With regards to his treatment of the British Raj subject, Husain simultaneously mimics two separate styles of British-Indian painting: formal portraiture using prominent imperial emblems and icons, and picturesque that exaggerated exotic elements.2 Husain satirized the confluence of cultures yet he does not historize his subjects; references to historical figures are intentionally oblique and were often fictionalized. 

In a large scale tableau, the Maharaja’s darbar is complexly marked with Husain’s iconography —the dancer and the musicians with their traditional instruments. The titular Maharaja holds court and sits comfortably on his home ground. Sitting beside him is the English governor who is stiffly dressed in a formal military suit, decorated and bearing the symbol of the crown; with him is his Lady seated a little to the back. Historically, a darbar refers to a ruler’s court and later to ceremonial gatherings characterized by pomp and glamor during the British colonial era. It signifies the ruling Maharaja’s demonstrations of loyalty to the crown. Instead of a dismissive attitude towards this practice of paying homage to the colonizer, Husain presented both English Lord and Maharaja side by side, in equal prominence. “His India has much authority and it forms a rather bemused backdrop for the historic mutual incomprehension that the Raj embodied, He situates his presentation of the drama of the colonizer and the colonized within a discourse of equivalence.”3 Interestingly, the tiger motif that is reminiscent of Tipu’s tiger is present. 

Aside from the principal subjects, the entire composition is almost devoid of colors. The kathak performer is the most colorful and dominating feature, highlighting Husain’s choice to portray India’s long artistic tradition as a continuum. Dance, particularly Indian classical dance, was heavily censored during the colonial period. The accumulation of Indian classical dancers into his pictorial tradition juxtaposed with the subject of the British Raj marked Husain’s interest in merging dance, visual art, and history by turning back to earlier indigenous forms of presenting the female body.

Husain’s work on the British Raj “provides both the political and ethical charge that runs through his works and it also distinguishes Husain’s attempts to laugh at the empire from other artistic attempts to do so that had preceded him. He really is the only major artist of his generation to deliver this message (offering) a playful but nonetheless edgy postcolonial lesson in how one might hate and disavow empire in the right way, even while learning how to live with it, mock it and laugh at it properly.”4

Text References: 
1 S. Ramaswamy, Husain’s Raj, Visions of Empire and Nation, Mumbai, 2016, p. 12
2 S. Bagchee, “Augmented Nationalism: The Nomadic Eye of Painter M.F. Husain”, Asianart Online, 1998, accessed April 2019
3 Ibid. 
4 S. Ramaswamy, Op. cit., p. 133,139

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art – Modern and Contemporary – June 13-17, 2019

ARTIANA announces Upcoming Online Auction of Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – No Buyer’s Premium – 13-17 June 2019

Mr. Lavesh Jagasia, founder and managing director of ARTIANA, standing in front of M.F. Husain’s ‘Kathak Dance Performance at the Maharaja Darbar’ (1989) – the cover lot of the auction house’s upcoming South Asian Art auction in June.

ARTIANA, UAE’s first home-grown auction house for art and luxury collectibles, is offering 50 artworks from the Indian subcontinent in their South Asian Art auction on June 13 to June 17. Showcasing a broad and inclusive range of fine works in various media such as oils, acrylics and paper works, the auction features work by masters and leading contemporary artists from the region including M. F. Husain, S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, and Jogen Chowdhury among others.

Leading the auction is a work from M.F. Husain’s rare Raj series – ‘Kathak Dance Performance at the Maharaja Darbar’ painted in 1989 with impeccable provenance; and another from the seminal Lost Continent series titled ‘Andy Warhol versus Marilyn Monroe’ (2005), a large work reflecting the artist’s thoughts about lost human values. 

M.F. Husain (1915-2011) – ‘Andy Warhol versus Marilyn Monroe’ – 2005 – 72 x 90 in. ( 182.9 x 228.6 cm.) – Oil on canvas – Lot 40

The collection also includes exceptional paintings by members of the Progressive Artists’ Group and their associates, providing a glimpse of the formative period in the development of Indian modern art. These include S.H. Raza’s 1974 painting, Composition, which is part of the culmination of the artist’s period of experimentation before the Bindu; an exceptional work by F. N. Souza from 1955, the apex of his artistic career, titled ‘La Place Town Square‘; and Ram Kumar’s semi-abstracted landscapes

S.H. Raza (1922-2016) – ‘Composition’ – 1974 – 16 x 10.5 in. (40.6 x 26.7 cm.) – oil on canvas
Ram Kumar (1924 -2018) – Untitled – 33 x 52 in. (84 x 132 cm.) – acrylic on canvas

ARTIANA will also offer one signature subject painting and 3 lots of calligraphies by the British based Pakistani artist Jamil Naqsh (who passed away recently); a sculpture from eminent artist Krishen Khanna, and a unique installation by Zarina Hashmi.

The collection will be sold through an online auction at www.artiana.com from June 13 (6:00 pm) through June 17th (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 allow 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

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 6 – Art Beyond Borders – African, Middle Eastern and Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Hassan Massoudy is known for his works on paper that integrates both calligraphy and figural representations. His creations are a subtle mix of oriental and occidental art, tradition, and modernity. 

Hassan Massoudy (b.1944) – Untitled – 2008 – 30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.9 cm.) – water-based pigments on paper – Lot 6

The present lot, like most of his works, highlight individual letters and words in saturated colors, stretched across the paper. The painting usually contains quotes and phrases from poets and writers from all over the world with the text written on a smaller scale framing the central letter or word, which is used to signify the essence of the message.

Massoudy perpetuates tradition but manages to be free from the constraints by the strict rules that governed the art form. Although Arabic calligraphy is traditionally done in black ink, Massoudy introduced other colors in his work to fully express himself. He further pushed its boundaries by merging it with abstract imagery.

The value of beauty in calligraphy lies in the execution and the perfection of style. Over the years, Massoudy purified and simplified his form while also maintaining a body of work that is inspired by a deep humanistic interest. By joining the ancient tradition of Arabic calligraphy with French plasticity, he continues to make something new but remains deeply rooted in the old.

Auction Catalogue – Art Beyond Borders – March 28 – 31, 2019

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 10 – Art Beyond Borders – African, Middle Eastern and Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Reflective of Iranian history and tradition that incorporated many religions and cultures into its realms, the interaction of cultures and exchange of ideas enabled a vibrant cultural and artistic heritage from which Farah Ossouli draws inspiration for her works. 

Ossouli pioneered the introduction of contemporary themes and ideas into miniature painting. Her modern take on Persian miniatures resembles highly decorated minarets with their geometric and calligraphic designs that tell countless stories. However, her most significant influence is from Iranian poems, which for her is as enduring as human nature. In her works, she portrays stories of love, violence, friendship, and family; themes that are as timeless as in the times of Persian miniature. 

The current lot titled, ‘Waiting’ shows Farah’s thin and precise brushwork in an unbelievably detailed idiom. The woman, portrayed in bright and vibrant colors, is shown through a cutaway with exterior views visible in the facade. Lighting throughout the picture is even while the whole work is divested of shadows. The picture is in a vertical format that is reminiscent of Persian miniatures influenced by Chinese scrolls in the 14th century.

In typical miniatures, there are often panels of text inside the picture area enclosed in a frame. Ossouli replaces the spaces for text with a broader band of color that borders the image, manipulating both the picture area and the scale of the figure. The rest of the work is in dense and detailed design; particularly the background which was achieved through extremely delicate and controlled brushwork, as evident in the details of the plants, the birds and the patterns on the clothes.

Replete in symbolism in a modern retelling of stories, Farah appropriates the language of miniature painting into her work turning it into a contemporary idiom that is both timeless and teeming with history.

Auction Catalogue – Art Beyond Borders – March 28 – 31, 2019

ARTIANA debuts Modern and Contemporary African art in Art Beyond Borders Dubai auction

ARTIANA presents the first selection of Modern and Contemporary African art within the upcoming Art Beyond Borders sale from March 28 – 31. This serves as a preview to the auction house’s long-term dedication to showcasing work by African artists.

Art Beyond Borders is an auction sale comprising works by established and mid-career artists from Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia, focused on cross-pollination of art. The sale of 40 lots highlights an African art section presenting works by artists Kofi Agorsor (Ghana), Ablade Glover (Ghana), Ato Delaquis (Ghana), and, Muraina Oyelami (Nigeria).

ARTIANA is an online auction house that provides a credible and engaging auction platform sans boundaries, whilst redefining and streamlining the transactional process. It delivers to a global audience the excitement of art auctions through the convenient medium of the internet together with the benefits of Dubai’s business friendly environment, thereby creating a worthwhile opportunity for international collectors.

There is no buyer’s premium charged in the sale, so what you bid is what you pay. Registrations to bid in the sale can be done at www.artiana.com from March 28 – 31, 2019.

For further details, please email: africanart@artiana.com.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Kofi Agorsor (b. 1970)

Born in Accra in 1970, Kofi Agorsor is a contemporary artist from Ghana. He initially studied Architecture for two years before switching to Art at the Accra Ankles College of Art, where he obtained his degree in 1993. In his paintings, Agorsor uses bold and vibrant colors to reflect the daily lives of people in Ghana. His subject matter borders on the generic but rendered often in a buoyant, semi-abstract and witty manner. He has participated in several solo and group exhibitions, as well as auctions both locally and internationally.

Ato Delaquis (b. 1945)

Born in Cape Coast in 1945, Ato Delaquis is one of Ghana’s foremost artist. He was one of the leading  figures of the Ghanaian Renaissance and is known for his iconic paintings of horsemen, landscapes, as well as abstract works. As a prolific draughtsman, he has worked in a wide variety of media including prints, watercolor, and etchings. Ato Delaquis has exhibited widely and his works are in private collections in Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Australia.

Ablade Glover (b. 1934)

Ablade Glover is a Ghanaian artist and educator, regarded as a seminal figure on the West African art scene. He founded the Glover’s Artists Alliance Gallery in 1993 to showcase emerging talents and bring international attention to traditional and contemporary African art. He is a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London and a Fellow of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.Glover has exhibited widely over several decades, and his work is held in many prestigious private and public collections, including at the Imperial Palace of Japan, the UNESCO headquarters in Paris and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.

Muraina Oyelami (b. 1940)

Muraina Oyelami was born in Iragbiji, Nigeria in 1940. Known as a master painter and as a great performing artist, he is one of the original products of the Oshogbo Art School. He studied at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife specializing in Theater Design, where he later taught traditional music from 1975 to 1987. Before his career in art, Oyelami was a founding member of the late Duro Ladipo Theatre Company performing as an actor and musician. Some of his works are in the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Staatlichen Kunsthalle, Berlin; National Gallery of Modern Art, Lagos, Nigeria; IWALEWA- Haus, University of Bayreuth, Germany; Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.; and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London among others.

Auction Catalogue – Art Beyond Borders – March 28 – 31, 2019

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 13 – Art Beyond Borders – African, Middle Eastern and Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Javlon Umarbekov (b. 1946) – ‘Tuareg Family’ – 1979 – acrylic on canvas – 47.25 x 41.25 in. (120 x 105 cm.) – Lot 13

Javlon Umarbekov uses art as a means of crossing thresholds between the East and the West, bridging cultural and even religious and political divides. Relying on traditional images and themes, his work exudes authenticity and verity. 

Here, he employs his individual interpretation of Cubist style in bright and resonant colors while reflecting on the unique history and heritage of the Tuareg people. Inspired by his travels in the Algiers, home to some of the Tuareg people, he depicts a Tuareg family in a rich blue color. Colloquially known as the “Blue people of the Sahara” because of the color of their traditional robes and veils, the Tuaregs wear this as a symbolic and important part of their cultural identity. This blue colored garment, Tagelmust, stain their skins and lend it a bluish color emphasized here by the artist. By incorporating oriental and occidental aesthetics with a rich cultural narrative, he transforms his work into a visual vocabulary that is truly his own.

Auction Catalogue – Art Beyond Borders – March 28 – 31, 2019

ARTIANA announces Art Beyond Borders auction | No Buyer’s Premium | 28 – 31 March 2019

Artiana announces its first auction for the year slated for March 28-31, 2019. Aptly titled, Art Beyond Borders, the sale will be the auction house’s inaugural international sale. It will feature 40 lots in total from artists from 15 different countries across the world. Estimates ranging from USD 600 to USD 20,000 for works in various and wide range of media will be available.

The cover lot is an untitled work by leading Middle Eastern artist, Mahmoud Hammad estimated at USD 20,000, other entries of Middle Eastern art include works by renowned painter and sculptor, Khaled Ben Slimane and French-Iraqi calligraphist, Hassan Massoudy. Also featured are Korean and Vietnamese art with a strong selection of contemporary works from leading artists alongside works from established Uzbekistan masters Bakhodir Jalal, Bobur Ismoilov, and Javlon Umarbekov.

A sculpture from South African based Bulgarian artist Rado Kirov together with works from popular African artists Ablade Glover and Kofi Agorsor, Indian modernists S.H. Raza and Paritosh Sen will also go under the hammer among others. 

The collection will be sold through an online auction at www.artiana.com from March 28 (9 am) through March 31st (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 allow buyers to ‘Bid Now Pay Later’ will also be available for eligible clients. (FlexiPay scheme details are available on the 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 – Art Beyond Borders – March 28 – 31, 2019