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Visual appeal: Folk, classical Indian art at Saffronart’s upcoming auctions

The ‘Classical Indian Art’ and ‘Living Traditions: Folk and Tribal Art’ auctions, scheduled to be held from April 10-12, will focus on India’s court, colonial and indigenous art forms.

art and culture Updated: Apr 02, 2018 16:05 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Saffronart,Classical Indian Art,Living Traditions
A 20th century bronze sculpture which shall be part of the auction.

Medieval stone sculptures of Vishnu, rare Patna school paintings, and an impressive collection of folk and tribal Indian art will be up for auction at two of Saffronart’s upcoming sales this month.

The ‘Classical Indian Art’ and ‘Living Traditions: Folk and Tribal Art’ auctions, scheduled to be held from April 10-12, will focus on India’s court, colonial and indigenous art forms.

They will feature artworks whose visual appeal harks back to traditions which are centuries old, the auction house said. The Classical Indian Art auction will have 88 lots on offer, spanning a variety of sculptures, miniature paintings, Company School paintings and rare books.

Vamana Vishnu, which dates back to the 10th century.

Among the medieval stone sculptures are two exceptional renditions of Vishnu, ‘The Vamana’ and a ‘Head of Vishnu’. Estimated at Rs 30-50 lakhs, and Rs 15-20 lakhs respectively, the sculptures have an exquisite quality of carving rarely matched.

The Company School paintings, made in British India between the late 1700s and early 1800s, document local customs, flora and fauna. Auction highlights include works by Patna artists Hulas Lal and his descendant, Bani Lal, who were masters of the Company School style.

Paintings by both artists were the subject of English art historian Mildred Archer’s ‘Patna Painting’, an essay on Company School paintings with select examples of this style. Leading the category of rare books is Ordhendra Chandra Gangoly’s rare publication from 1926 which features select examples of Rajput painting.

Estimated between Rs 2-2.5 lakhs, the book is numbered “70” from a limited edition of 210 copies, and is presented in a portfolio box.

“The exquisite miniatures and exceptionally carved sculptures in the ‘Classical Indian Art’ auction are complemented by a selection of rare books on art. These books underscore the scholarship that was crucial in providing a deeper understanding and appreciation of antiquities from the subcontinent.

Camel Rider, attributable to Bani Lal, from Patna, 1880.

“The group of Patna Company School paintings are important as they are a very rare group with an excellent provenance. They are an extraordinary rediscovery as they have not been seen since English art historian Mildred Archer published a study on them in 1947,” Hugo Weihe, CEO, Saffronart said.

The ‘Living Traditions’ sale will feature paintings, embroidery and sculpture that exemplify India’s indigenous traditions. Highlights from the auction will include Bhuta masks from Karnataka and Kerala, Chamba rumals from Himachal Pradesh, as well as Gond, Madhubani and Bastar art.

‘Baghai Devata’, an endearing painting by Sita Devi, leads the auction at Rs 4-6 lakhs.

Mithila artist Sita Devi was famed for the Bharni style of painting, which involves outlining the subject in black, and filling the areas with colour. Also among the highlights is Jagdamba Devi’s untitled (Krishna with Gopis), offered at Rs 1.5-2 lakhs.

Gond artist Jangarh Singh Shyam’s 1997 untitled work (Rs 60,000-80,000); two Maisandaya bull masks from Karnataka or Kerala (Rs 2.5-3 lakhs each); a 19th century Pilichamundi mask from Karnataka or Kerala (Rs 3-4 lakhs); a 20th century Banta mask from Karnataka or Kerala (Rs 4.5-5.5 lakhs); and a painting by Warli artist Jivya Soma Mashe (Rs 70,000-90,000), will also be on offer.

“‘Living Traditions’ is a celebration of tradition and craftsmanship. We wanted to include a range of art forms from across India which showcase the depth and diversity of imagination and skill.

“These traditions are passed down from generation to generation, and form an aesthetic continuum with contemporary art forms. To illustrate this, we have included paintings by artists who have infused a very old tradition with the vibrancy of contemporary scenes,” Weihe said.

Both auctions will be held online on the auction house’s official website, and will be preceded by viewings in Mumbai from April 2-12.

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First Published: Apr 02, 2018 10:34 IST