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

Why ARTIANA Fine Art Finance Service is Perfect for Collectors of Indian Art

Published on September 18, 2018 (, by Angie Kordic

The online auction house ARTIANA, a well-known platform based in Dubai, will now expand its activities and offer a one-of-a-kind service on the market right now – their Fine Art Finance service.

Announced just ahead of their November 2018 sale of South Asian art, it is an art finance advisory division that will specialize in financing solution to both buyers in their auctions and those who can borrow against blue-chip Indian artworks. By financing their purchases at Artiana auctions, clients can take advantage of opportunity buys and schedule a delayed or installment payment on their acquisitions based on their cash flows. By leveraging existing artworks, our clients optimize the use and enjoyment of their collection, while unlocking equity and allowing further portfolio diversification.

We talk to ARTIANA’s founder Lavesh Jagasia about the importance of such service being available within the field of Indian art and its market, as well as what it could mean for all sides of the sales.

The ARTIANA Fine Art Finance

Widewalls: What brought the creation of the ARTIANA Fine Art Finance on? How did it come to be?

Lavesh Jagasia: ARTIANA Fine Art Finance will assist us in increasing our clients and broadening the collector base of Indian art. Being a part of the Indian art sphere for the last 3 decades, I have experienced the effects that lack of liquidity has on this market just as it does on any other asset class. There are many times that works are sold in auctions for attractive prices, and end buyers are unable to take advantage of these situations as they would have not planned such purchases. With other collectors already holding significant portions of their net-worth in Indian art and unable to sell it quickly or leverage it when required, it limits their investments in this sphere due to the illiquid nature of this asset class.

By introducing our FlexiPay ‘Bid Now Pay Later’ facility in our auctions and offering bespoke finance solutions for blue-chip Indian art, we will address these issues resulting in deeper penetration of the market.

Widewalls: How does the service you’d be providing differ between the buyers and those who borrow against blue-chip Indian artworks?

LJ: The buyers on the ARTIANA auction platform have multiple benefits as compared to those offering external art assets as collateral. All items offered in our auctions are eligible for deferred or installment payments under our FlexiPay ‘Bid Now Pay Later’ scheme as long as the clients have been pre-approved for this facility. ARTIANA buyers have access to a higher Loan-To-Value (LTV) ratio of up to 80% of our lower estimate value as compared with up to 60% of our appraised value of all external art assets. The arrangement fee of 2% of the advance amount is also waived from them.

Charges for evaluation, storage and the conservator’s inspection report are currently complimentary for all clients, but maybe applicable to external clients in the future.

Widewalls: What is the process like for those who wish to approach ARTIANA in order to use this service? What can they expect and what is expected of them?

LJ: For prospective bidders in our auctions, the process is quite simple. All they need to do is select between the deferred or installment payments offered in our ‘Bid Now Pay Later’ plans, agree to the Terms and Conditions thereof and get a pre-approval prior to the commencement of the auction, confirming their eligibility for this facility. If their bids are successful, then they can then choose to either pay as usual or opt for their pre-approved FlexiPay facility.

The clients who want to propose external art assets as collateral, will have to first send us the image and details of the artworks. After our preliminary requirements of the artwork, such as artist and ownership are met, then an appraisal and condition check will be carried out, subsequent to which, the evaluation, LTV and terms are discussed with them ahead of the next steps.

In both cases, the artworks are stored in our art storage facility till all amounts due against them are cleared.

Making an Impact on the Indian Art Market

Widewalls: Why Indian art? Is it exclusively Indian art?

LJ: Yes, currently we are offering this facility only on blue-chip Indian artworks. This is a market that we have in-depth knowledge of, and is our core area of focus even in our auctions. Our expertise in this domain enables us to effectively manage the risks, and have quick turnaround times in structuring bespoke solutions for our clients.

Widewalls: The ARTIANA Fine Art Finance is the first service/product of its kind out there. What are the advantages you offer, as a company already in the bespoke business, compared to other sources of financing?

LJ: That is correct, currently there is no service/product available that offers specialized financing solutions for Indian art. Our advances offer flexibility and a variable term. Unlocking equity and receiving liquidity without cumbersome documentation and credit approval process. There is no personal liability, the collateralized artworks are the sole guarantee towards the advance (non-recourse).

Widewalls: How do you see this service having an impact on the art market and the way business is being done in sales?

LJ: The availability of flexible payments in our auctions will allow buyers to make purchases and plan their payments, no longer having to wait till the entire amount is available before placing a bid or making an opportunity purchase when a work is going for an attractive price at auction.

With the clients who will use this service for external art assets, they could use this facility to unlock equity and diversify their collection, for short-term funding and bridge finance to acquire works while awaiting sale transactions on their existing ones.

The availability of liquidity against only certain blue-chip artworks will also segregate the market identifying investment-grade art from the rest.

All of this will positively impact the Indian art market and increase overall sales of the artworks that qualify for this service.

Dubai-based auction platform will now provide loan against blue-chip Indian art work

Published on September 16, 2018 (, by Tasmayee Laha Roy

Artiana will consider individual artworks and collections of blue chip Indian fine art as collateral. Artworks must be freely marketable and produced by prominent artists with an existing track record in the secondary market.

All the exquisite Indian art work that adorns your walls can now get you a loan.

Dubai-based online art auction platform, Artiana has started a one-of-its-kind service -Artiana Fine Art Finance. Leveraging upon the strength of the auction house platform, Artiana is all set to provide financing solutions that cater to both buyers in auctions as well as others who can borrow against blue-chip Indian artworks.

While there are platforms like Levart, Sotheby’s Financial Services and others that provide loan against artwork what is special about Artiana is their services are dedicated towards blue-chip Indian artwork.

Clients having artwork that qualifies as collateral for this facility and can arrange the physical delivery of these pieces to Artiana’s storage facility in Dubai, can use this service. Interestingly, the equity released against the artwork can be used for any purpose and there are no restrictions on the deployment of these funds.

What exactly does Artiana Fine Art Service do? They provide finance solutions to consignors and buyers at our auctions and arrange advances secured against Indian fine art at competitive interest rates. “Our bespoke finance solutions provide financing for fresh acquisitions or existing collections,” said Lavesh Jagasia, Founder of Artiana.

Art work has been an investment option for a lot of people for years now but unlike other commodities like gold or real estate art is not easy to sell. At least not as quickly as other investment options. This is the gap Artiana wants to bridge.

“There are times that works are sold in auctions for attractive prices, and end buyers are unable to take advantage of these situations as they would have not planned such purchases. With other collectors already holding significant portions of their net-worth in Indian art, and unable to sell it quickly or leverage it when required limiting their investments in this sphere due to the illiquid nature of this asset class,” Jagasia said.

With bespoke finance solutions for blue-chip Indian art, Artiana wants to address these in the art market.

As for the amount of finance provided, while there is no upper limit the minimum advance size is $50,000 which could be against one work or a collection of works.

But what Loan-To-Value (LTV) does Artiana Fine Art Finance offer against the artworks? “We will typically advance up to 80 percent of the lower estimate value of artworks purchased at our auctions or up to 60 percent of the appraised value of the proposed external art collateral,” Jagasia said.

Explaining why the company came up with financial solutions against blue-chip Indian artwork only, Jagasia said, “We currently focus on Indian art in our auctions, hence to be able to accurately estimate and guide our clients and financiers we prefer to stay within this domain. Secondly, there is no other such product/service available for Indian art making the facility a welcome addition to the Indian art sphere having a pent-up demand.”

As for the kind of artwork that can be used for availing the service, Artiana will consider individual artworks and collections of blue-chip Indian fine art as collateral. Artworks must be freely marketable and produced by prominent artists with an existing track record in the secondary market.

The artworks are evaluated by both Artiana and also independently inspected by a conservator.

For securing the transactions throughout the term that the artworks are held as collateral they will be insured at double of the advance amount, to cover the full value of the art asset. The insurance covers the items right from the time of collection, during storage until the final handover.

As for Artiana’s interest in the lending process, Artiana Fine Art Finance will charge an arrangement fee of 2 percent of the advance amounts arranged against external art assets, this fee is waived for finance arranged against purchases made in their auctions. Depending on the value, tenor and terms of the advance the charges are calculated at typically 15 percent per annum payable quarterly in advance for fixed maturity payments, and at a flat rate of 10 percent per annum for monthly installment payments.


MF Husain’s artworks help Artiana achieve first white-glove sale

Published: May 15, 2018 (, by Tasmayee Laha Roy

Around 60 works that were on the block at the Artiana South Asian Art auction were sold fetching close to Rs 11.1 crore.

Various works by Indian artists have been on the global art connoisseur’s map for some time now and the late MF Husain’s paintings have been a favourite whenever they have gone under the hammer.

MF Husain – Trinity of Mother Teresa – 1989

Dubai-based online art auction house Artiana has concluded its first white glove (100% sold) sale, thanks to Husain. The artworks that fetched the top two bids came from the Indian modern artist.

Around 60 works that were on the block at the Artiana South Asian Art auction were sold fetching close to Rs 11.1 crore. The works were estimated to rake in around Rs 10 crore.

Not surprisingly, one third of the auction proceeds came from Husain’s works. “At an Asian auction if Husain is on the block there is very slim chance of any other artwork making it to the top buys,” said Lavesh Jagasia, founder at Artiana, UAE’s first home-grown auction house for art and luxury collectibles.

“The top two artworks were sold to two UAE residents where Husain and is very popular. We had a hectic four day bidding session where we saw a lot of new buyers taking interest in Indian artworks. India and UAE is where most of the buyers came from,” added Jagasia.

Artists that made it to the top-10 included Husain’s new to the market Trinity of Mother Teresa that fetched Rs 2.2 crore followed by another of his untitled painting that fetched Rs 1.5 crore. Other entries on the list included Krishen Khanna’s Thou Sayest So, Sayed Haider Raza’s Dhayan and Zarina Hashmi’s Home is a Foreign Place that collected Rs 95 lakh, Rs 81.5 lakh and Rs 40.8 lakh, respectively.

Ram Kumar, Jamil Naqsh, Francis Newton Souza, K. Laxma Goud, Bhupen Khakhar were other artists who saw maximum bids. Their lots made close to Rs 1.8 crore.

Krishen Khanna – Thou Sayest So – 1980

With a No Buyer’s Premium Policy where buyers do not have to pay a commission for the artwork purchased, Artiana has streamlined the online auction process offering clients important elements of traditional auction house services such as expertise, gallery viewings and printed catalogues.

55 Indian artworks, including MF Husain’s paintings, up for online auction this May

Published: May 4, 2018 (, by Tasmayee Laha Roy

Artiana, a Dubai-based online art auction platform, is putting up 55 Indian artworks on the block at their South Asian Art – Classical, Modern and Contemporary Online Auction between May 10 and May 14

This May, those who admire MF Husain and his works have something to look forward to. After selling his ‘The Last Supper’ at $ 1.1 million against a lower estimate of $700,000, Dubai-based online art auction platform Artiana is again putting up another 55 Indian artworks on the block at their South Asian Art – Classical, Modern and Contemporary Online Auction between May 10 and May 14.

The May auction will feature new-to-market works by MF Husain with ‘Trinity of Mother Teresa’ being the cover lot and another painted on the day of the India and Sri Lanka Cricket World Cup final match — two horses depicting the two teams as stallions of the cricket world. The auction that would have 90% Indian artwork also includes ‘Thou Sayest So’ by Krishen Khanna, ‘Shanti Bindu’ by SH Raza and an impressive bronze sculpture of Vishnu among other rare works by Bhupen Khakhar, Ram Kumar and SH Raza.

MF Husain – Trinity of Mother Teresa – 1989
MF Husain – Untitled (2 Horses) – 2011

While ‘Trinity of Mother Teresa’ from 1989, a suitable vintage Husain artwork, has a lower estimate of $350,000, Krishen Khanna’s work has one of $100,000. The auction has a novelty factor too. Artiana has got rid of the buyer’s premium, facilitating bidders to invest more in the bid. “By getting rid of the buyer’s premium, we make sure that a bidder invests his entire budget on the artefact and not in paying service charges,” said Lavesh Jagasia, founder at Artiana, UAE’s first home-grown auction house for art and luxury collectibles.

Artiana’s last sale in October 2017 clocked sales over $3 million, with 96% being sold with 128% total sale value against the lower estimate. This year, the numbers are expected to go higher.

According to Jagasia, his audience is divided in three halves — Indian bidders, bidders from UAE and those from the rest of the world.

After completing five successful auctions, Artiana’s future auctions are planned for art from the Middle East which will comprise works by Emirati artists including other surrounding countries and diaspora artists from this region, a sale of rugs and carpets, which will offer a range of hand-woven Oriental rugs and carpets, including textiles such as European paisley and Indian jamawar shawls.


ARTIANA’s South Asian Art Online Sale is Coming Up!

Published: May 8, 2018 (Widewalls), by Angie Kordic

For four days this May, between the 10th and the 14th to be precise, there will be yet another splendid auction of South Asian Art hosted by the ARTIANA auction house from Dubai. A total of 60 lots will be featured in this online sale, including classical, modern and contemporary paintings and sculptures from the Indian subcontinent.

Among the highlights, we have an impressive bronze figure of Vishnu, a collection of 20 Company Paintings, a seminal 1989 painting by M.F. HusainTrinity of Mother Teresa and Krishen Khanna’s marvelous Thou Sayest So from 1980.

Let us also not forget the leading figures of South Asian contemporary art, such as S.H. RazaBhupen KhakharF.N. SouzaJamil NaqshJogen Chowdhury… And who better to discuss this exciting sale than Lavesh JagasiaARTIANA’s founder and an expert on South Asian art with as many as three decades of experience in the field.

With Mr. Jagasia, we also discuss the introduction of VAT in the United Arab Emirates, its effect on the art market, the current state of affairs in that aspect, and of course, ARTIANA’s future plans. Have a read below!

How did ARTIANA’s last auction do and what are the highlights of the upcoming ‘South Asian Art’ sale?

Our last auction was very successful with a sell through rate of 96% and total sales at 128% of the lower estimate value. Our cover lot, the seminal work by M.F. Husain based on ‘The Last Supper’ was sold for USD 1.1 Million against the pre-sale estimate of USD 700,000. This currently remains the most expensive painting sold on our platform, and we are very pleased with the confidence reposed in us by our buyers that are reflective in our results.

ARTIANA’s Lavesh Jagasia with MF Husain’s ‘The Last Supper’ painted in 2005

Being the only auction house in the Middle East that has a regular calendar of ‘South Asian Art’ auctions, what trends have you observed with collectors of this genre of art?

Yes, that is absolutely correct, in fact we are the UAE’s first home-grown auction house for art and luxury collectibles and the only auction house in the region conducting auctions of South Asian art. The buyer base for this genre of art are the South Asian diaspora in the region and other overseas countries, besides collectors from India. There is a definite growing interest amongst the community to collect works of established artists, buying art for them is a tangible experience which we offer in our Dubai based viewing gallery. Quality works by Modernists with impeccable provenance generates the maximum interest, with the aesthetically appealing subjects being the most preferred, as these collectors want to live with the works rather than store them as pure investments.

KH Ara – Still Life – circa 1940’s

Given the recent implementation of VAT in the UAE, how will this affect your auctions and the art market in general?

VAT in the UAE has been set at a very low rate of 5% for all goods and services. As an auction house dealing in pre-owned art and collectibles we are obliged to charge the VAT only on our commission, which is fixed at 20% of the Winning Bid, hence the net impact to buyer’s within UAE will be negligible at just 1% of the total purchase price, and overseas buyers will not be charged any VAT. We feel that the overall art market will also be able to absorb the impact of the 5% VAT between the galleries and buyers without affecting sales.

Jamil Naqsh – Emissaries – 2016

ARTIANA was featured in the latest South Asian Art Market report as one of the top auction houses amongst other older auction houses, how have you managed to achieve this in a short span of time?

Yes, we managed to garner close to 5% market share of South Asian art which merited our inclusion in the list of top auction houses focusing on this genre of art. Even though ARTIANA exists publicly in its current structure since last three years, actually it is a convergence of my three decades of engagement and experience in the South Asian art sphere, which brought together my expert knowledge, relationships, network and credibility to form this successful platform. Another aspect that may have acted as a catalyst is our disruptive ‘No Buyer’s Premium’ policy, which results in savings ranging from 15%-40% for our buyers as compared to the final payable amounts over and above the ‘Winning Bid’ at other auction houses.

Ram Kumar – Untitled – 2008

According to recent art trade reports, lack of transparency is the main stumbling block holding the online art market thus fewer people purchase art online, how will ARTIANA address this?

Even though we use an omni-channel marketing strategy, and maintain a brick and mortar gallery for hosting our auction previews, we conduct all our auctions online and believe that this is the way forward for transacting art, hence our commitment towards furthering our digital strategy is always foremost in our business objectives. The key requirement to make this successful is gaining the confidence of new buyers that land on our website and retention of buyers that have transacted on our platform. Majority of these buyers use our past auction results for reference, and we permanently archive these results including the unsold lots for their information to maintain transparency on the pricing and the result of every lot offered at our sales. Besides this the prospective buyers are provided with provenance for every work after an in-depth investigation into its authenticity and ownership, and a comprehensive Artiana guarantee that covers all items sold on our platform for a period of six months from the auction closing date. These aspects add to our reliability and ensures the buyers that they are transacting with a premier dependable auction house.

Bhupen Khakhar – Butcher’s Shop in London – 1979

Please share with us ARTIANA’s journey till now and what can we look forward to in terms of ARTIANA’s future plans and sales?

ARTIANA was launched three years ago and conducted its first auction in March 2016, maintaining a calendar of two South Asian Art auctions in a year. After our first year we introduced classical art in our catalogues that featured Gandharan and Indian sculptures and Indian miniature and company paintings sourced from outside India and vetted by our leading experts, these items have found a lot of interest with collectors, especially those based outside India as these works are non-exportable from within India. In terms of overall sales we grew three-fold between our first auction and our last concluded sale and have received positive feedback from our clients for our efforts in combining a curated catalogue with multiple entry levels and low impact costs. We plan to continue building similar catalogues for our upcoming sales every March and October which have become permanent fixtures in the South Asian art calendar. In this year we are planning to launch sales of Rugs & Carpets, Prints & Multiples followed by Middle Eastern art in the near future.

(Originally published in Widewalls)

ARTIANA – South Asian Art – Classical, Modern and Contemporary Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium – 10-14 May 2018

ARTIANA’s upcoming auction of Classical, Modern and Contemporary paintings and sculptures from the South Asian region will be held online on May 10-14 at, with previews at their Downtown Dubai viewing gallery. The auction begins on May 10 at 6pm UAE time and will close on May 14 between 6:30-9pm. ARTIANA is UAE’s first home-grown auction house for art and luxury collectibles and have been receiving an overwhelming response from the art market, collectors and enthusiasts due to their efforts in bringing rare and authentic works of art to the market. Their last sale on October 2017 clocked sales over US$ 3 million with 96% lots being sold, 128% total sale value against the lower estimate, and MF Husain’s seminal work ‘The Last Supper’ being sold for US$ 1.1 million against a lower estimate of US$ 700,000.

Their May auction features seminal new-to-market works by MF Husain with ‘Trinity of Mother Teresa’ being the cover lot and another work of two horses painted on the day of the India and Sri Lanka Cricket World Cup final match depicting the two teams as stallions of the cricket world; including an important work ‘Thou Sayest So’ by Krishen Khanna, ‘Dhayan’ by SH Raza and an impressive bronze sculpture of Vishnu among other rare works by Bhupen Khakhar, Ram Kumar and SH Raza.

MF Husain – Mother Teresa – 1989
SH Raza – Dhayan – 2004
 Krishen Khanna – Thou Sayest So – 1980

Future auctions are planned for art from the Middle East which will comprise works by Emirati artists including other surrounding countries and diaspora artists from this region, a sale of Rugs and Carpets which will offer a range of hand-woven Oriental rugs and carpets including textiles such as European paisley and Indian jamawar shawls, and a Prints and Multiples sale presenting prints by international artists executed in various printmaking techniques and three-dimensional multiples.

With its No Buyer’s Premium Policy, ARTIANA has redefined and streamlined the auction process offering clients the important elements of the traditional auction house services such as expertise, gallery viewings and printed catalogues. Its USP slogan “What You Bid Is What You Pay”. Prospective buyers can view the works by prior appointment. Registration for the auction can be completed online at or through their mobile app available on both Google Play for Android and the App Store for Apple devices. ARTIANA conducts the auction process online on using their proprietary auction application software, and distributes both online and physical catalogue for every auction. ARTIANA is founded by Lavesh Jagasia, an expert with three decades of experience in the sphere of Indian Art. He is a specialist in Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art and has collaborated with most of the leading South Asian artists on various projects.

‘South Asian Art Market is Hugely Undervalued’

ARTIANA Founder Lavesh Jagasia explains why South Asian art will weather economic slowdown

As founder of UAE’s foremost home-grown auction house for art and luxury collectibles, Lavesh Jagasia knows his art – not just from the aesthetic point of view but also from commercial perspective. As ARTIANA gears up to hold its next online auction on March 23-27, he takes us through the world of bidding and why South Asian art market is recession-proof.

ARTIANA Founder, Lavesh Jagasia

What’s the USP of your next auction? 

Our USP as an auction house is “what you bid is what you pay”; buyers at our auction do not pay any Buyer’s Premium over and above the winning bid amount. Other auction houses usually charge 25-30 per cent Buyer’s Premium on the final bid amount making the artworks more expensive. Our upcoming sale is about presenting Classical artworks along with Modern and Contemporary selection. This is a rare occasion when a sale of Classical South Asian art is taking place in the region and these will be presented with the expertise of world class scholars such as JP Losty for the Indian Miniature Paintings and Renzo Freschi for the Indian and Gandharan sculptures.

For a buyer, what is the advantage of participating in an online art auction? 

Online art auctions give buyers the benefit of a seamless and convenient platform to bid from across the globe! They can view the works in our gallery and participate in our timed online auction as per their respective time zones. Online auctioning reduces the high costs associated with live in-room bidding of art and luxury collectibles. Buyers can also view all the details of the work and study the artworks through high-resolution images provided on our online auction platform, as if looking at the artworks in person. There are many buyers who prefer to remain discreet and this medium allows them that flexibility. Besides, there are options for ‘Proxy Bid’ in which case, a bidder can put in their upper limit bid and our proprietary auction application will bid on their behalf till this limit is reached, relieving the bidder of keeping a constant watch on the bid increments.

MF Husain – ‘Islam’ – 1992 – acrylic on canvas – 78 x 139 in.

What tips would you give an art lover who is participating in an auction for the first time? How should he or she make smart choices?

  • Check the credibility of the auction house.
  • Make sure that they are selling genuine art works by ascertaining their reputation and length of association with the sphere of art that they specialise in.
  • Since art and luxury collectibles have a historically high value, make sure that you are getting the best value for your money by acquiring artworks that you love.
  • Acquire a painting which you can live with for a long time, as art should not be acquired merely as an investment. It is an asset class which should be approached with a combination of passion and research.
  • As much as possible, go for the auction houses who have a ‘No Buyer’s Premium Policy’ as it would save you from paying additional 25-30% of the hammer price.
Jamil Naqsh – ‘Arrival’ – 2015 – oil on canvas – 48 x 30 in.

Given the general economic slowdown, what is your assessment of the art market currently? 

Based on my experience over many years which have included both highs and lows, I would say that the South Asian art market is hugely undervalued. The economic slowdown may broadly affect the mood of the buyer temporarily but confidence is proved time and again by record prices achieved by top-end works in which rare and sought-after pieces see hectic bidding activity. This is proof that the market for quality works remains extremely strong in any economic scenario. Moreover, the Indian economy is growing at a very healthy pace and has remained unaffected by the economic slowdown in the Gulf and other emerging economies.  In this current auction, majority of our artworks are by Indian artists.

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

Can you recommend some South Asian artists to watch out for? 

We always recommend acquiring the established masters from South Asia. The established artists we recommend any serious collector to acquire would be from the ‘Progressive Artists Group’ such as M. F. Husain, S. H. Raza, F. N. Souza, Ram Kumar and other artists such as Sakti Burman, Jehangir Sabavala, Jogen Chowdhury and Jamil Naqsh.

Krishen Khanna – ‘Bandwallas’ – 2003 – oil on canvas – 40 x 30 in.

What are your favourite pieces that will be going under the hammer in the auction? 

We have a seminal work of S. H. Raza titled ‘Emergence’; this work was painted in 1988 and has been published on the cover and inside of one of the artists’ most important books. There is a very large work of M F Husain titled ‘Islam’, this massive work is from his ‘Theorama’ series and is worthy of any museum acquisition.

Source: ‘South Asian Art Market Is Hugely Undervalued’: Lavesh Jagasia