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

Francis Newton Souza – ‘Red Houses with Front Garden’ – 1957 – Oil on board – 36 x 24 in. (91.5 x 61 cm.) – Lot 31

Featured in ARTIANA’s upcoming online auction on December 6-10, 2018, is this striking painting by artist Francis Newton Souza – ‘Red Houses with Front Garden’. This work of the artist had been exhibited and published in South Asian Modern Masters of Grosvenor Gallery in London.

Francis Newton Souza is arguably one of the greatest and most celebrated painter in the history of Indian contemporary art. Versatile and spontaneous over the command of his pen and brush, his facility with his craft shows in the diversity of his works. From landscapes, nudes, still-life and to his widely popular strongly drawn heads, Souza spanned the entire gamut.

Painted in 1957, the picture is part of the culmination of both technique and subject in the artist’s prime decade. “Red Houses with Front Garden” depicts an English suburban landscape in Souza’s signature strong and expressive style. The houses, situated in a grassy space, are rendered in simple rectilinear structures punctuated by gnarled trees. The trees set in the foreground give the picture a sense of depth. Unlike other artists, Souza’s landscape is not figurative or life-like, instead they are vehicles of his mood and expression. Inspired by the ecclesiastical architecture of the Roman Catholic churches from his native Goa, the palette of the work was indicative of Souza’s interest in stained-glass windows illustrated with his use of luminous hues framed by dark outlines. Like his other landscapes, the sky appears stormy and turbulent lending a disconcerting sense in the otherwise peaceful scenario. This can be attributed to Souza’s angular brush strokes.

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary’ – December 6-10, 2018

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 42 – Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Artiana auction house will host its South Asian Art online auction on 6- 10 December 2018. Featuring a total of 50 lots, the sale boasts work from modern masters and leading contemporary artists from the Indian subcontinent. Marquee lots to go under the gavel at this auction will be exhibited for viewing at their Downtown Dubai gallery starting December 1st until the 6th by appointment. This includes Sayed Haider Raza’s seminal work,  ‘Prakriti’ (1998) estimated at $150,000 – $250,000. 

Sayed Haider Raza – Prakriti – 1998 – acrylic on canvas – 39.25 x 39.25 in. (100 x 100 cm.) – Lot 42

Throughout his career, Sayed Haider Raza has been influenced by the mystical power of nature. Drawn by his Indian heritage and driven by his desire for the elimination of the inessentials he began an extensive pictorial research of the elements, the potency of colors, and symbols which soon become the formal elements of his paintings. Preoccupied with the use of this elements, it became the center of Raza’s artistic vocabulary and true raison d’être – the purpose of the existence of his painting. He went on to perfect this symbolism throughout the 1980-1990s.

Maintaining harmony in the use of simple geometry and pure color, he adopted a symbolic language to represent different aspects of the natural world. The current work is delineated in sections, with each of them containing an image, usually in geometric shape suggesting the essence of the element. He uses primary colors to highlight the elements; fire, water, wind, earth and the sun. Here he utilizes vibrant red, electric blue, black, ochres and white colors which are also significant colors to the Indian tradition.

S. H. Raza exploits shapes, lines and diagonals to illustrate the union of forces in the universe not merely from form and color but also from their arrangement on the canvas. His works express a highly simplified perception of the powerful forces inherent in nature. “At the epicenter of many of these paintings is a dark, blank void. Emanating from this inner core the forms and shapes are like veins, energizing and giving life to the painting. The viewer begins a visual journey outwards from this centre, a journey through the elements of life itself. Raza explains that at the heart of this unique visual language lie the five key symbols of fire and water, earth, wind and sky, brought together within a geometric framework that also contains signifiers of fertility and fruitfulness, all together underlining the inevitable interrelationship of the key components of the universe and the interconnections of our humble lives within it” (S. H. Raza, Saffronart and Berkeley Square Gallery exhibition catalogue, 2005, not paginated).

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary – December 6-10, 2018

ARTIANA – Highlights – Lot 32 – Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – Online Auction – No Buyer’s Premium

Maqbool Fida Husain – A Magician Dangles the Fortune Bird in a Cage – 2005 -oil on canvas – 72 x 90 in. (182.9 x 228.6 cm.)- Lot 32

M.F. Husain’s ‘A Magician Dangles the Fortune Bird in a Cage’ (2005) is expected to go under the hammer on 6-10 December 2018 at ARTIANA’s South Asian Art online auction. This important work is part of the seminal ‘The Lost Continent’ Series exhibited at The Arts House in Singapore and at the prestigious Victoria and Albert Museum in London. 

At the last years of his creativity, MF Husain, age 95 was India’s best known painter. During his long prolific career as an artist, he was witness as history unfolds; from the great wars being fought, through genocides and holocaust, the partition and the unfurling of his nation from the British Raj to modern India. He witnessed deprivation, violence and rapid deterioration of human values across the world. In pursuing the theme, he dedicated his art to express the great loss he called, “The Lost Continent” which he made into a 21-part series chronicling his thoughts about lost human values.

In the painting where a magician dangles the fortune bird in a cage, “the bird is surrounded by a mosaic of riotous colour. The bird is held by the stark blue hands of a magician, who is covered in a white cloth and slowly considering his next move. The composition lures viewers into a terrain where play and uncertainty coexist.”1 The title suggests a magician dangling the bird in a cage, just like in the popular magic trick; but behind the act is the magician knowing the true nature of the trick, concealed by the sleight of hand. Concurrently referencing Mahabharata, the blue hands signify Lord Krishna as he oversee the fate of the world. Starting from the game of dice, a key incident in the great epic, deceit had been a powerful driving force that ultimately led to the cosmic war from which the order of the universe was achieved. He orchestrated the war and change the whole course of the epic in ways more than one. Despite knowing the outcome, Lord Krishna let the events unfold and ensured that everyone answers to the laws of karma. Through the act of deception, he restore dharma into the world.

The immense narrative and pivotal personas that Husain picked from the epics convey deep meaning more than the explicit imagery. His symbolic images are introduced naturally in continual juxtaposition and serves as the foundation of his work. Husain used strong even coarse lines of Jain miniature painting to express energy and movement and sharp colors in basic simple design within strong broad border as influenced by the Basholi period. The demotic stylistics, the use of symbol, folk elements, and vibrant colors have come to characterize Husain’s signature style.

Text Reference:  Hwee Koon, MF Husain: The Lost Continent

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary – December 6-10, 2018

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

Sakti Burman – ‘Musicians Playing for Krishna’ – 2015 – Oil on canvas – 63.8 x 51.2 in. (162 x 130 cm.) – Lot 41

ARTIANA’s upcoming auction on December 6-10, 2018 features an important painting of Sakti Burman – ‘Musicians Playing for Krishna’. Painted in 2015, the notable work showcase Burman’s exceptional technique and whimsical ethos. 

Sakti Burman’s artistic vocabulary spawned from a mutually replenishing relay between two levels of mythological narrative. Much like his influences from both India and France, he organizes the narratives of his work from grand mythologies of the world with its vibrant iconography and from personal myth. He draws instinctively from varied religious traditions and folklores as much as he borrows from his everyday encounters. His frames are graced by families and friends often seen accompanying gods, nymphs, heroes and celestial emissaries into ethereal fantasy and reverie.

Sakti’s fascination with demotic imageries is apparent in the current lot. Employing the Kalighat ethos, he humanized Lord Krishna in the picture. Here, he presented the god as a child dancing with the cow as his mount. Lord Krishna as dancer and flautist is a recurrent object of painterly devotion for Burman. To one side stand a human father carrying his child and on the other side is a flautist. Seated below is an accordion player. Both musicians playing music to Krishna’s dancing and blurring the boundaries between the world of mortals and gods. The picture also includes Sakti’s recurring characters like harlequin and other mythical creatures joining in a blissful coexistence. Sakti conceives paradoxical imagery depicting familial relationships, celestial and terrestrial figures of dreams and perceived reality cohesively tying them in a powerful narrative.

“Child and Supreme God, serenader of women and killer demons, the divine flautist is often at the centre of a dance of other figures from Burman’s ongoing fantasia: sometimes, the peacock; at other times, a chorus of adolescents; on occasion, a centaur-like figure who prances yet remains melancholy, keeps the beat of the dance yet retains the detachment of the observer. Perhaps that centaur-like figure is, once again, the artist as chronicler and archivist of human dispositions, marking the rhythm of point and counterpoint.” (Ranjit Hoskote, Sakti Burman: In The Presence Of Another Sky, Art Musings, India, pg. 245)

Auction Catalogue – South Asian Art ‘Classical, Modern and Contemporary’ – December 6-10, 2018

ARTIANA announces Online Auction of Classical, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art – No Buyer’s Premium – 6-10 December 2018

Browse the auction at www.artiana.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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