Saturday, March 7, 2015

Rare Himalayan Masterpieces Lead Asia Week at Bonhams

Indian, Himalayan 4 - A gilt copper alloy figure of Chakrasamvara Tibet, 15th century

New York:  Himalayan masterpieces from the 14th to 16th century will lead Bonhams’ Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian Art auction on March 16, 2015.
The star lot is a magnificent lineage portrait thangka of the Ninth and Tenth Abbots from Ngor monastery from a distinguished private European collection. New to the market, it is estimated at between $800,000 and $1,200,000. The thangka, made circa 1557, is an extremely rare example of 16th century painting from Central Tibet. The distemper-on-cloth work is boldly colored using a primary palette with heavy gold outlining and presents the central figures seated next to each other. The composition is framed by the abbots of the Ngor order and is inscribed at the bottom, commemorating the ascendancy of the Eleventh abbot. Unlike other portrait thangkas, this one has a deeper, secondary purpose; the positioning of the three deities directly above the two abbots suggest that it was made to help initiate the viewer into the esoteric teachings of the central deity, Rakta Yamari. Whereas most Ngor portraits were part of sets, this suggests that the Bonhams’ double portrait was a special commission.
An outstanding gilt copper alloy figure of the prominent composite deity, Chakrasamvara, expected to fetch between $500,000 and $700,000, comes from the same private European collection. The masterpiece depicts the eponymous twelve-armed male deity and the female deity, Vajravarahi, locked in a passionate embrace. He embodies compassion and she wisdom. The union of these two qualities presents the most important transcendental ideal expressed in Buddhist art, supreme enlightenment. The sculpture is expertly detailed and both figures are beautifully gilded and embellished with jewelry.
A large thangka of Shakyamuni, from Western Tibet and dated 14th century, is another important lot (est. $300,000 – 500,000). Measuring 82.5 by 41 inches, the thangka is one of the largest surviving Tibetan paintings from any period. Tibetan Buddhists regard Shakyamuni as the single greatest authority on the Buddhist teachings. This thangka depicts Buddha on a throne in the act of teaching and flanked by his two of his closest disciples, Shariputra and Maudgalyayana.
Another standout lot, a Yongle-period gilt copper alloy deity from a Vajrabhairava shrine, comes from a private English collection and is estimated at $250,000 - 350,000. It is an early 15th-century depiction of Surya (the Sun god) that belongs to a set of eight Hindu deities, which would have occupied the front edge of a throne for a monumental sculpture of Vajrabhairava. Out of this group of eight, five others have either sold at auction or are in museum collections, making this sculpture extremely desirable. The deity is large, depicted in a powerful and unique pose. He wears an expression of fierce attention. The rich gilding, exquisite modeling and jewelry arrangement are typical of renowned Buddhist sculpture of the Yongle-period.
Edward Wilkinson, Consultant at the Indian, Himalayan & South East Asian department at Bonhams said, “At the core of this auction are a group of extremely important masterpieces of Himalayan painting and sculpture that are fresh to the market. Supported by a diverse and rare group of works from across the South Asian region, the sale taps into a particularly buoyant market. Buddhist art in particular is enjoying broad international appeal and the market for this genre has risen dramatically over the past five years.”
The auction will begin at 4pm. The online catalog will soon be available here.
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge, Oxford and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit
Edward Wilkinson heads the Indian, Himalayan, and Southeast Asian Art department at Bonhams, where he holds two specialized sales annually. Previously he was worldwide Head of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art at another international auction house from May 2000 through August 2003.
Since joining Bonhams Wilkinson has organized and presented several sales of note: The Sartin Collection in September 2011; Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art: Including selections from the Paul F. Walter Collection in March 2012; The Estate of Natasha Eielenberg in September 2012; Himalayan Art from a private American Collection, March, 2014; Masterworks by V.S. Gaitonde from the George Gund Estate in September 2014; These sales have established world records for the 19th century Rajasthani court artists Bagta ($302,000) and Tara ($172,000), The Eilenberg Buddha, Mon-Dvaravati, Thailand ($674,500), A Thirty-Two-Deity Guhyasamaja Mandala, Tibet, circa 1520-1533 (929,000), and V.S. Gaitonde, untitled, 1963 (1,685,000) and helped to establish Bonhams department in New York as a market leader in the field.
During his previous positions, he coordinated and conducted nine auctions of Indian and Southeast Asian Art. Notable sales included a single-owner sale of Contemporary Indian Painting from the Davida and Chester Herwitz Collection establishing a world record sale total for the category. Two other world record sale totals were established consecutively for traditional Indian paintings (prior to 1900) from the Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck Collection, March 2003 and the Paul F. Walter Collection in November 2003. Several record-prices were established for various schools of painting in each sale. The discovery and subsequent sale of a Gandharan Buddha for $669,000, from the Charterhouse School, England, established a world record price for Gandharan art in September 2002. Another discovery resulted in the identification and sale an extremely rare 12th century Dali Kingdom gilt copper alloy figure of Avalokitesvara.
Prior to his appointment in May 2000, Wilkinson worked as a Consultant and Department Specialist of Oceanic Art for the African and Oceanic Art Department at another international auctioneer from November 1999 through May 2000. From 1996 through 1999 Wilkinson was Executive Head of an Australian auction house’s Asian and Tribal Art department. During his tenure, Wilkinson coordinated and conducted monthly sales of Asian art, quarterly sales of Tribal art and yearly sales of Oriental rugs. He was Vice President of the Oceanic Art Society, Sydney, and committee member of the Oriental Rug Society of NSW, Sydney.
Wilkinson is an accredited member of the International Society of Appraisers since 2006, with a specific focus on Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art. Since 2009 he has served as Chair of the Southern Asian Arts Council at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Ramkinkar Baij Memorial Lecture by Prof. B.N. Goswamy

On the eve of S. H. Raza’s 93rd Birthday Vadehra Art Gallery presents his solo show ‘Aarambh’

To celebrate S. H. Raza’s 93rd birthday, Vadehra Art Gallery is delighted to present ‘Aarambh’, a solo show by one of India’s most revered modernist painters.  The show is open to the public from February 22-March 18, 2015, at Vadehra Art Gallery.
The works in ‘Aarambh’ form part of a new body of work executed over the course of the past year and are to be exhibited to the public for the first time. The exhibition includes forty-four canvases and paperworks by the artist.
As Raza turns 93, there is no let up in his creative energy, passion for colour and its immense possibilities, and his relentless search for spiritual form. He has a huge reputation as a master colourist who has explored in visual terms some metaphysical concepts about the universe, nature, male-female energies, environment etc. His iconic Bindu remains at the centre of both his plastic imagination and spiritual quest. Many of the new works created in 2014-15 reveal a master making new discoveries and forging new combinations embodying in fresh ways his enduring vision of the world and art. For him art is the whole world and, by the same token, the whole world is art.
Born in Babaria, Madhya Pradesh in 1922, Raza studied at Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai and the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris. A member of the post-Independence Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, Raza is considered to be one of India’s most renowned artists and continues to inspire contemporary south asian artists.
Raza has exhibited widely in India as well as internationally. He has been the recipient of many accolades including the prestigious Padma Shri Award by the President of India in 1981, the Padma Bhushan in 2007 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2013.  Raza lives and works in Delhi.
Arun Vadehra, Director Vadehra Art Gallery, comments:  "Over the last 25 years some of my fondest memories are of visiting Raza at his home in Paris. Many evenings were spent enjoying flowing conversation over fine wine discussing art, life and much else. It is because of these periodic visits to his apartment, often months apart, that I have been able to see Raza’s development as a painter and moreover, the evolution of Indian art itself."
S. H. Raza was born in Babaria, Madhya Pradesh, in 1922. He studied at Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai, and Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Paris.
His important solo exhibitions include: Antardhwani, Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (2013); Bindu Vistaar, Grosvenor Gallery, London (2012); Punaraagman, Vadehra Art Gallery and Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (2011); Raza – A Retrospective, Saffronart, New York in association with Berkeley Square Gallery (2007); Celebrating 85 Years of Living Legend S H Raza, a Traveling Exhibition at Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Mumbai, New Delhi, organized  by Aryan Art Gallery, New Delhi (2007); Retrospective 1952-91, Palais Carnoles, Musee de Menton, France (1991); Solo show, Galleria Matuzia, San Remo, Italy (1975); Solo show, Worth Ryder Art Gallery, Berkeley, University of California, California, USA (1962).
His important group exhibitions include: Ram Kumar and the Bombay Progressives: The Form and the Figure Part II, Aicon Gallery, New York (2013); Des duos et des couples, Aix en Provence, France (with Pablo Picasso and Francoise Gilot) (2003); Tryst with Destiny, Centre for International Modern Art (CIMA), National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Mumbai (1997); L’Estampe Aujourd’hui, Bibliotheque Nationale: Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, Grand Palais, Paris (1978).
His international participations include: Transition, 20th Anniversary Show, Centre of International Modern Art(CIMA), Kolkata (2013-14); Roots in the Air, Branches Below: Modern & Contemporary Art from India, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose (2011); From Everyday To The Imagined: Modern Indian Art, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore and at Museum of Art, Seoul National University, Seoul (2007-08); International Biennale de Dakar
His awards include: Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in 2013; Padma Bhushan by the Government of India (2007); Lalit Kala Ratna Puraskar by Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (2004); Padma Shri by the Government of India (1981); the Kalidas Sanman National Award by Government of Madhya Pradesh (1981); the Prix de la Critique (1956); the Gold Medal by Bombay Art Society (1948); the Silver Medal Bombay Art Society (1946).

Tasveer | KALEIDOSCOPE | Ram Shergill | February 20, 2015 | Ahmedabad- NID

Exclusive Preview of 'Something Else' by Dhruva Mistry on February 21, 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Highlights of VIP Preview at India Art Fair 2015

 President of BMW India Philipp von Sahr with Neha Kripal of India Art Fair
The 7th edition of India Art Fair opened to the public on Friday 30th January to new acclaim. A successful preview day brought over 7000 cultural patrons who bought from a range of national and international galleries. With a few sell-out booths, strong sales were reported across the board. 
“We have made excellent sales not just to our existing clientele, but particularly to an expanding base of new collectors, with the main works snapped up in the first two hours. What has been interesting is a significant number of new collectors in the mid-range. The collectors love the IAF programme, and for us the fair provides the one opportunity in the year to interact, connect and re-connect with them all.” Prateek Raja, Co-Director, Experimenter Gallery
Jorge Brinkerhoff, Director of Florida-based gallery Brinkerhoff Fine Art said “We’ve been thinking about participating at India Art Fair for the last five years and have taken the plunge, not quite knowing what to expect. We’ve been delighted with the level of sales and interest and made an impressive number of new friends and collectors who are open not only to collecting indian art but also to look beyond to Western artists. This is encouraging for us and we will certainly come back next year for sure.”
The overwhelming feedback was that, in addition to a world-class curated artistic program and Speakers’ Forum, the calibre of the works and the curation  of the gallery booths have never been higher, and that the quality and professionalism of india Art Fair has it a new international standard. A revised fair layout has seen the relocation of Delhi Art Gallery for a major curated exhibition of India Art in the permanent structure, in order to facilitate the new IAF Courtyard. This has created space for new restaurant and design partners. In addition the introduction of a new rooftop restaurant all adds to a markedly improved fair-going experience. 
Oiane Salazar, Director of Patrons, Guggenheim Bilbao who led a delegation of over 20 Guggenheim patrons said: “The Guggenheim group are especially pleased to come to India. We have been much impressed by the wide range of artists, and particularly the number of female artists on exhibition. The layout of the fair is as good as any international fair we’ve seen, and the VIP programme has been particularly good, with superb wine and snack service and restaurant options. The group have been happy to have this opportunity to discover indian art. 
Diwan Manna, Director India Triennale commented “India Art Fair has led the way, exemplifying how art can be showcased and projected in India, in a country where there is little awareness of art. The fair is a place where people want to be seen. We’re all so proud of Neha Kirpal and genuinely appreciate the whole effort. The idea, the conception and execution of the fair is world class.”

Sotheby’s Dazzles in New Delhi

Ahead of Major Indian Art Auctions in New York, Sotheby’s Announces an Exciting Series of Events to Coincide with the India Art Fair 29-30 January 2015
 Simon Shaw, Co-Head, Impressionist & Modern Art Worldwide, Sotheby's
January 30, 2015: Discussing Sotheby’s presence in Delhi from the 29 – 31 January 2015, Yamini Mehta, Sotheby’s International Head of Indian and South Asian Art, said:  “We have put together an exciting program of events to enrich the art experience for our clients in India, which will bring some of our key worldwide experts to make the connection between Modernist movements and Indian artistic creativity. Our Global Head of Impressionist and Modern Art will be speaking about Sotheby’s sale of a work that is iconic in 20th century art – Munch’sThe Scream. We are seeing keen interest developing among Indian collectors who have been pursuing prime works by key Indian modernists for works of the highest quality by some of the greatest international names, such as Monet, Picasso, Henry Moore, Renoir, which are available at many levels of the market. What is so fascinating now is that these works appeal to the same international base of collectors, among them many new Indian collectors.  We will also be showcasing works from our upcoming New York sale of Indian and South Asian Art.
 Amrita Sher-Gil was a pioneering figure in Indian art and we are proud that for the first time a portrait of her will be offered by us on the international market, only the third time she has appeared.  Sher-Gil is a tragic figure who showed so much promise during her brief career in the 1930s, and died unfortunately at the age of 28.  The vast majority of her works are in the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi, which makes Sotheby’s ability to offer this work, which is coming from a European collection, all the more exceptional. We will also be showcasing a sublime Gaitonde recently-discovered in a German collection, which depicts a lush red sunset, and works by Sabavala as well.  As part of bringing the world of Sotheby’s to our clients, international specialists from our Jewellery team, one of the most accessible categories with universal appeal, will take our clients on a virtual journey into the jewellery boxes of some of the greatest collectors of the 20th century.”
Sotheby’s and Rolls Royce Motor Cars Present an Evening of Cocktails and Canap├ęs Featuring Highlights from Upcoming Auctions of Modern & Contemporary  South Asian Art
Robin Woodhead, Chairman, Sotheby’s Worldwide hosts a cocktail evening featuring outstanding works of Modern and Contemporary Indian Art.  Major works by V. S. Gaitonde, Jehangir Sabavala, M.F. Husain, Jagdish Swaminathan and Ram Kumar will be on show in The Imperial Hotel’s Royal Ballroom, while Rolls-Royce Phantom and Ghost Series II cars will be presented outside on the lawn.
Selling The Scream: the Modern Masterpiece in Today’s Global Market
Simon Shaw, Global Head, Impressionist and Modern Art, Sotheby’s, will give a talk in which he vividly recalls the moment he first saw Edvard Munch’s The Scream in Oslo. “When we took the picture out of the crate it was the most moving, emotional experience that I’ve ever had with a work of art,” says Shaw, who orchestrated the May 2012 sale of The Scream for an historic $119.9m.  With opportunities to participate at many levels of the market, Shaw will talk about the growing presence of Indian collectors. 
Friday 30th January, the Royal Ballroom at The Imperial , 4pm
Tales from the Vault: a Peek Inside the World’s Greatest Jewellery Boxes
Sotheby’s New York jewellery specialists, Catharine Becket and Nikita Manilal will talk about some of the world’s great jewellery collections, such as the Jewels of the Duchess of Windsor and the collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon.  The talk will start at 4.30pm, following a Champagne Afternoon tea which will be served at 4pm. 
Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art
Sotheby’s auction of Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art, to take place in New York on 18 March, will feature many fresh-to-the-market from private collections across the US and Europe, including Germany, Switzerland and Hungary. The undoubted highlight of the sale is a stunning Self-Portrait by Amrita Sher-Gil - the most important work by the India’s leading female modernist to appear at auction (illustrated on page 1, est. $1.2/1.8 million). Not only did Sher-Gil play a crucial role in the articulation of twentieth century Indian art, but she was also a seminal influence on generations of Indian artists, pioneering a new form of Indian modernism. Considered a National Treasure, whose body of work is largely with the National Gallery of Modern Art, Delhi, this is the first time a self-portrait will be offered at auction. Sher-Gil is not only one of seven legally protected artists whose work cannot be exported from India, but is rarely offered on the market internationally due to the scarcity of her work.
Vasudeo S. Gaitonde’s sublime untitled painting from 1963 that hails from a very important moment in the artist’s career; featuring his early experimentations with Abstract Expressionism.  Rendered in varying shades of red strewn with black, this work is a classic and timeless masterpiece recently unearthed from a private German collection. Untitled from 1963 has many similarities to the Gaitonde work which last year set a new benchmark for Indian Art at auction (est. $1.5/2 million) The painting dates from the renowned mature period in the artist’s career during which he turned away from geometric works and began to experiment with using a paint roller and palette knife.
Other highlights of the exhibition include an Untitled work from 1960 by Jagdish Swaminathan in the artist’s signature colourful style that incorporates a unique subject matter (est. $180/220,000) and Untitled (Kumaon Hills) by Jehangir Sabavala a large and exceptional example of the series depicting the mountain range in Northern India (est. $150/200,000). Other paintings by leading modernists including Rabindranath Tagore, Krishen Khanna, Ram Kumar, Francis Newton Souza, Maqbool Fida Husain.