Making art more accessible to people has always been a vision for Saffronart. The leading auction house marks 20 years since its inception next year. “And on the eve of this anniversary,” says Minal Vazirani, the President and Co-Founder, “we are pleased to present two back-to-back auctions in New Delhi.” September 12th will see the Ballroom of The Oberoi in New Delhi assume the role of an auction house for the day.
Art lovers will be treated to not one, but two auctions, set to offer work by some of the most influential modernists in Indian art history. The Day Sale will showcase 55 works from the Estate of Francis Newton Souza, a founding member of the Progressive Artists’ Group, and one of the first prominent Indian artists in the global scene. His bold, non-conformist views came through in his works that also employed various methods of painting. The catalogue for the sale showcases the esteemed artist’s career, that spanned over five decades and multiple themes.
The first lot of the catalogue is one of the many paintings of “heads” that Souza worked on, influenced by his own personal experiences and using distinctive techniques and patterns. Lot 3 features pen on magazine paper, depicting an infamous British sex scandal from 1961. It is a prime example of Souza’s awareness of happenings in society and how he used his work as satire against it. Once he moved to New York from London in 1967, he began to experiment with materials and layers, such as in Lot 15 which uses chemical solvents and marker on magazine paper, and takes influence from the street culture of New York.
The Evening Sale features a multitude of artists that have impacted the modernist art movement in India, with a total of 68 lots for sale. The highlight of the catalogue is a V. S. Gaitonde from his peak years, that is estimated to go for Rs20 to 30 crores. The oil on canvas piece is a harmony of colours, textures and light. Lot 4 is K H Ara’s untitled work that, as many of his others, depicts humans in everyday situations in a post-Colonial India. Ten M F Husain paintings also feature in this catalogue. Lot 10 is one of S H Raza’s expressionist landscape works inspired by his native Madhya Pradesh village, before he moved to his classic geometric “Bindu” motifs. The catalogue features six works of Ram Kumar from the various highlights of his career, including his abstract landscapes of Benaras and Ladakh. A large 44 x 46 inch painting by Bhupen Khakhar is a rare piece that many collectors will be vying for, especially given Khakhar’s gaining recognition.
The viewings of the catalogue will take place between August 23 and 31 at Saffronart, Mumbai and September 6 to 12 at The Oberoi in New Delhi. For the September 12 live auctions at The Oberoi in New Delhi, registrations for the Day Sale commence at 4pm with the auction at 5pm. For the Evening Sale, registrations start at 6:45pm and the auction begins at 7:45pm. All the lots are available for viewing online at saffronart.com.