Works of masters like Raza, Souza and Husain are set to go under the hammer at what is said to be India's first ever online auction, which is expected to rake in nearly Rs. 225 million (over $5 million).
The art works will be on display in Mumbai for a preview on Sunday - a curtain raiser for online bidding for the Indian Modern and Contemporary Art auction to be held in Kolkata on February 16-22. The event is being organised by Emami Chisel Art (ECA).
ECA, along with Kolkata's art connoisseur Chisel Art, has planned a simultaneous bidding process - both physical and virtual - for art aficionados on the opening day.
ECA director Vikram Bachchawat said the organisers were hoping to leverage for art collectors to get transparency and tax rebates. "Unlike other cities, Kolkata does not levy the 12.5 per cent value added tax (VAT), so this means that art collectors save a lot of money on tax," he told IANS here.
The online art mart will see rare works like the landscape etched out by Raza in 1953. This sublime work is expected to go under the hammer for between Rs. 8 million and Rs. 10 million.
In all, there will be 89 prized works of 79 top artists from across India.
Also up for grabs is Tyeb Mehta's fiery 'Kali III' and FN Souza's 'Manor House'. MF Husain's cascade of emotional anger, helplessness and hope expressed in the splash of colours after the murder of cultural activist Safdar Hashmi will also be featured.
In 1987, this work of art had created a record by becoming the first Indian painting to cross the Rs. 1 million mark. The organisers expect this painting to go for a huge Rs. 25 million.
For those who love the dark and sensuous world, the auction will put up two charcoal drawings of Amrita Shergil, Bikash Bhattacharjee's 'Over the Dark Clouds', works of J Swaminathan, Manjit Bawa and Akbar Padamsee.
Bachchawat said that after this debut auction, there would be two more auctions held after the monsoons that would focus on other art genres like sculptures, drawings and prints.