ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 14 – Art Beyond Borders – African, Middle Eastern and Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Bakhodir Jalal (b. 1948) – Memory of the Land – 1991 – 47.25 x 35.5 in. (120 x 90 cm.) – Acrylic on canvas – Lot 14

With a career spanning over 40 years, in a period of enormous cultural and historical changes in his native Uzbekistan, Bakhodir Jalal is considered one of the leading figure of art in Central Asia.

He is credited for the reinvigoration of the mural genre and in helping shape a new cultural and artistic landscape. While his influences range from architecture, mosaics, nature, as well as from more formalist elements of Western modernism, Jalal’s art practice is firmly rooted in his national heritage. He produces works that merge various techniques reflecting his country’s ancient traditions, culture, and socio-political climate. 

As with his abstract works, “Memory of the Land” is characterized by its intricate details depicting mythological stories and fantasy worlds from his imagination. He used fluid forms and colors replete with traditional Uzbek ornamentation and textile motifs to express himself. Speaking about the influences on his work, Jalal says, “My father worked in an ikat factory, and those beautiful textiles opened my eyes to color and texture at an early age. I was also inspired by the beauty of the landscape…”

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

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 21 – Art Beyond Borders – African, Middle Eastern and Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Sakti Burman (b. 1935) – Untitled – 19.5 x 25.25 in. (49.25 x 64 cm.) – Watercolor on paper – Lot 21

Sakti Burman is a figurative artist for the most part, but the association of his figures defies the general norms and logic of reality. Apart from his drawings, Sakti paints mostly in three mediums – oil, watercolor, and pastel. While his oils are generally jubilant and vibrant, his watercolors are somewhat restrained which can be attributed to his treatment of space. This technique which developed towards a synthesis of naturalness and the abstract helps him create a minimal yet surreal environment.

“In his watercolors, he transforms vacuity of the space into a divine light of the sky through the treatment of his figurative forms. The second characteristic of his watercolors is the use of texture especially his signature pointillist. But the transparency and subtlety of application of chromatic points bring out a different character in his watercolors. The smudgy display of minute chromatic points intermingling with very tiny yet crafty non-chromatic voids displayed by the whiteness of paper creates a wave that dilutes the naturalness or reality of the environment and transposes the characters in the pictorial field to a different conceptual environment and helps to bring down the divine on the earth and elevate the mundane towards a noble sensation. This nobility is the essence of his expression.” (Mrinal Ghosh, The Divine Desire: Paintings of Sakti Burman, Aakriti Art Gallery, Kolkata, 2015, pg.5)

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

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 7 – Art Beyond Borders – African, Middle Eastern and Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Khaled Ben Slimane (b. 1951) – Untitled – 2000 – 34 x 16 in. (86.4 x 40.6 cm.) – ink, gouache and pencil on paper – Lot 7

Khaled Ben Slimane is a renowned sculptor and painter whose artistic practice comes from his quest for spirituality. His creative pursuit spanned the gamut of exploration; from time, the universe, space, and the mystical quality of symbols and signs. He reutilized traditional ways and materials such as canvas, bronze, wood, paper, and ceramics.

Hailing from Tunisia, he’s one of the numerous artists from the region that explored the precise dimension of signs and symbols, drawing from Berber motifs and the rich Islamic heritage. Traditionally, the symbols were painted on walls of villages and homes for their healing quality and to embody magical attributes that guard against evil and misfortunes. 

By invoking their aesthetic qualities, using them in organic compositions or expanding on their mystical properties, he combines traditional symbols from the Berber culture with Andalusian themes to create abstract work that references the past and present. 

Here, employing graphism Slimane synthesize new symbols from old forms to produce new meanings in a distinctive style reflective of his interest in different cultures. Also present in this work are his signature elements – the calligraphy that gives movement to his work and the repetitive colors – ochre and gold which were inspired by the masters he worked with in the past and contribute to his overall composition.

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

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 2 – Art Beyond Borders – African, Middle Eastern and Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Ablade Glover (b. 1934) – Untitled (Yellow Woman ) – 1992 – 36 x 24 in. (91.4 x 61 cm.) – Oil on canvas – Lot 2

Ablade Glover is one of Ghana’s acclaimed artists and regarded as a seminal figure on the West African art scene. Having been trained in Ghana, Britain and the United States, his artistic exploration conveys aesthetic acculturation of complex African representations fused with western modes of artistic expression. 

Glover preferred to work on urban subjects like market places, lorry parks, shanty towns, urban spaces crowded with ordinary people, and studies on the women of Ghana showcasing the visual richness of the continent while linking modern Ghana with the mythological past of the African tradition.

The current lot is a vibrant oil painting, part of Glover’s profile series which illustrates Ghanaian women in profile, rendered in hues of yellow. Part of his signature is the depiction of the woman in a stylized yet recognizable rendition of reality, swirling between abstraction and realism. Also evident is the “wet into wet” technique using thick application of paint that results in a textured finish that Glover is known for.

Movement and energy are emphasized in the vigorous palette knife application and the thick impasto that he employs in his works. Gestures are transformed into jagged lines accentuated by frenzied pop of colors to emphasize a sense of activity and motion, while his choice of colors reflect the bright colors and textures of Ghanaian fabric and textile. An element of pointillism is also present in his work where you have to stand back from the scenes, in order for the shapes, tones, and colors, to blend into each other.

“Glover’s paintings radiate both movement and color. Using a palette knife in place of a brush, and starting with simple shapes, his paintings accumulate weight by a process of repetitive strokes, which create surprisingly dynamic images out of seemingly static planes. What appears to be a brilliantly executed abstraction at close quarters suddenly comes into a magical focus on retreat from the canvas, and a seemingly chaotic tangle of colors[…]” (Africa Now! Emerging Talents from a Continent on the Move exhibition catalogue, Washington DC, 2007, p.102)

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

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 12 – Art Beyond Borders – African, Middle Eastern and Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Bobur Ismoilov (b. 1973) – ‘Behind-the-scenes’ – 2012 – 35.5 x 35.5 in. (90 x 90 cm.) – Oil on canvas – Lot 12

Bobur Ismoilov is one of Uzbekistan’s premier artists, His works explore the depths of human nature and are deeply rooted in the Uzbek culture. He takes components from theatre, illustration, opera, ballet, and video installations for his oil-on-canvas creations.

Ismoilov has a deep affection for the theatre, particularly since it dates from antiquity in Uzbekistan. He directed the musical play “The Tricks of Nasreddin” at the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet (1997) and worked at the Republic Puppet Theatre and the Theatre of Drama from 1997 to 2000. Having had this background from the performing arts, some of his works drew inspiration from theatre including the present work. Explaining the symbolism of his work Ismoilov alluded, “I paint from my heart and soul. The scenes reflect episodes around me. There is no particular philosophy in what I show — it is only the world around me!”

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

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 15 – Art Beyond Borders – African, Middle Eastern and Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Timur D’Vatz (b. 1968) – ‘Falconers’ – 2012 – Oil on canvas – 51.25 x 51.25 in. (130 x 130 cm.) – Lot 15

Drawing inspiration from ancient histories, early Byzantine art, medieval tapestries, and mythology Timur D’Vatz produces dreamlike creations featuring the timeless metaphor of hunting.  

He used the motifs of dogs and falconers to emphasize the ancient theme of a hunt. Here, he depicts the figure of a hunter with the pointed hat of a magician or shaman ready for the sacred ritual. The gold colored hunting robes emphasize the idea of the ceremony while the birds of prey perched on the arm and the dog posed with overarching necks give a sense of movement. The concept, widely held among hunting people and often found in prehistoric art referred to them as the master of the animals. 

Early Russian icons influence the elongated forms of the figures as seen here. The use of golden colors reflects the traditional gold ornamentation of Uzbekistan. D’Vatz masterfully merges the ancient culture and traditions of Central Asia to create a powerfully iconic image.

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

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 16 – Art Beyond Borders – African, Middle Eastern and Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Manu Parekh (b. 1939) – ‘Banaras in Monsoon’ – 2014 – acrylic on canvas – 24 x 30 in. (61 x 76.2 cm.) – Lot 16

The paradoxes that exist in the relationship between man and nature lies at the heart of Manu Parekh’s Banaras. As a continuation of the artist’s fascination for the intriguing contradictions that lie within the holy city, issues of mortality and the temporal nature of all existence are referenced in his colorful landscapes. 

On his Banaras inspired paintings, Manu Parekh said, “I had always wanted to create a truly Indian landscape, and in Banaras I found the inspiration and the symbols to create one. A darker landscape, but with patches of brightness; fearful, crowded with uncertainties but full of faith. A landscape with both bright colors and solemnity; teeming with human energy yet with underlying quietude. I was painting, perhaps, the riddle of faith, by simultaneously depicting incompatible experiences.”

A common motif of his Banaras is the ubiquitous temples and shrines. The lights emanating from them provides Parekh the imagery and symbols to create dramatic compositions. To frame a slight change in the mood, he depicts Banaras in different lightings and seasons. Aptly titled, the current piece is Manu Parekh’s depiction of the Banaras landscape in the monsoon season.

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

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 (widewalls.ch), 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.