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Indian art to go under hammer in Dubai

Christie's is getting ready for a sale in Dubai on May 24 that will include works by Indian master artists SH Raza, MF Husain, FN Souza and Rameshwar Broota

india Updated: May 02, 2006 19:51 IST

Christie's is getting ready for a sale in Dubai on May 24 that will include works by Indian master artists SH Raza, MF Husain, FN Souza and Rameshwar Broota.

"The proximity of Dubai to the Indian subcontinent and the current strength of the market lead to this superb inaugural sale and will provide the newest platform for this rising market in the international art market," Christie's spokesperson Ganeive Garewal in Mumbai told IANS.

Among the major works by Syed Haider Raza in the sale is "Ciel Bleu" dated to 1957 (estimate: $100,000-150,000).

Time spent in the French countryside during the 1950s inspired Raza. Stylistically the work also reflects the legacy of Mughal and Rajasthani miniatures.

Post-1970, Raza entered a new phase in his artistic career, using elements from Sanskrit and tantrik texts in a return to his Indian roots.

Raza's "Sourya" is a highlight of the sale (estimate: $400,000-600,000) depicting an arrangement of shapes reduced to their essence as the earthy colours evolve from light to dark following the natural sequence of day into night.

Maqbool Fida Husain is well represented in the Dubai sale with a number of works spanning his decades-long career as an artist.

Major highlights include his well-known depictions of horses, "Equus", 2005 (estimate: $200,000-250,000), Untitled (estimate: $120,000-150,000) and "Mother Teresa" (estimate: $200,000-250,000).

Francis Newton Souza's "Green Landscape" from 1960 (estimate: $120,000-150,000) and "Monsoon" from 1958 (estimate: $180,000-220,000) represent the highpoint of his career with his use of thick energetic brushstrokes almost violently applied to the surface.

"Green Landscape" was illustrated in one of the seminal initial publications on Souza by E. Mullins in 1962. At two metres wide, a large work, "Goa Landscape", from 1990 (estimate: $200,000-250,000) is a serene rendering of the artist's childhood home.

One of the most sublime works in the sale is by Rameshwar Broota from Delhi. Titled "Numbers", the painting (estimate: $80,000-120,000) depicts three proto-human figures against a dark monochromatic backdrop.

This significant work represents a shift in Broota's oeuvre following his discovery of a knife-blade technique that strips layers of paint to create subtle shading and texture without the benefit of preparatory works on paper.

Christie's most recent sale in March 2006 in New York reflected the continuing growth of the modern and contemporary Indian art market as the auction sale realised over $15.6 million with 14 artist records again being established.