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Artworks under hammer

Saffronart's Spring Auction in New Delhi saw the artworks of young artists raking in big moolah.

india Updated: Mar 22, 2006 15:58 IST

"We are interested in finding the new second ladder of younger aspirants", said Dr Hugo Wiehe Director South Easst Asian Art Christie's when he came for the Ramachandran show at Vadehras. However, before Christies could rake in the profits for their auction to be held on March 30, Saffronart's Dinesh Vazirani has single-handedly taken the auction market by storm with the Saffronart Auction of young artists.

Saffronart's Spring Auction features 44 artists, 125 works of young Indian artists all in the post-Independence category and the triumph of reaching the 1 crore mark belonged to aesthete Atul Dodiya.

Atul Dodiya's "As though he listened"

The highlights of this time's spring auction were three works by Atul Dodiya, which were: "The Kitchen" (Circa 1995), Oil on Canvas, 72" by 48", estimated at $80,000 - $90,000 (34 to 38 lakhs) went for Rs 97 lakhs.

"As though he listened", 1987, Oil on Canvas, 60" by 64", estimated at 35 to 40 lakhs,which brought the hammer down at Rs 1 crore to 21 lakhand 'German Measles, Polkes Eye', Enamel on Laminate, 71 by 47", estimated at 30 -35 lakh which went for Rs 53 lakh.

There were a total of 5 works by Atul Dodiya (which was the largest collection of his work to come into auction). Dodiya recently made news in Singapore for his brilliant exhibition of works on Sabari: entitled "Wet Sleeves of My Paper Robe" at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute in conjunction with Bodhi Art Singapore. Atul also has a solo show coming up at Vadehras in Delhi.

Atul Dodiya is an artist who creates several frames of reference within the canvas. From homage to Piet Mondrian, to Gandhi, to a faceless Chinese monk meditating in the woods, Dodiya has used metaphors as his symbolism. In early yearsAtul Dodiya's observation of a middle-class that is preoccupied by specific concerns, his questioning probing into the daily lived idiom, everything came together to begin a sensibility that would weave intellect into the visual

 Art by Baiju Parthan

framework of artistic leanings.

Renowned today for his watercolours, as well as his photo-realist oils, he first came to public attention with his series of hyper-realistic works that revealed his penchant for the popular imagery of India.

From the middle of the 1990s, however, he started to explore a wider sphere of interest, working with different styles, painting allegorical images, complete with popular culture, Hinduism, art history and himself. His work is, in a way, a form of political art, but the result is enigmatic and metaphysical

Dodiya the star of the Indian brat pack whose work "The Kitchen" was on the cover of the handsome catalogue,becomes the first young artist (besides veterans like MF Husain, Tyeb Mehta and SH Raza) to reach the crore mark. But it was not Kitchen that hit the crore mark it was a 1987 oil on canvas, "As though he listened" had that hit 1 crore. According to Saffron "the closing bid came in at 9.30 pm and is Rs 1 crore 21 lakh".

Atul Dodiya was followed closely by his wife Anju Dodiya whose work "Pillory" sold for Rs 96 lakh 69 thousand. Anju Dodiya becomes a record holder of sorts among Indian women artists for reaching this record high for this watercolour and charcoal that was exhibited at Chemould Gallery in 2001.

Anju continually creates her own legend as though she were a fictional character caught in bizarre but lyrical narrative,a self-disruptive autobiography. "Changing pictorial contexts with the use of the self portrait has been her leitmotif. Interestingly both Atul and Anju are artists who use the experiential realm in their own lives to find artistic metaphors as paradigms.

 Anju Dodiya's "Pillory"

In their works they go beyond established norms and practices to articulate deeper contemporary issues at hand. Anju's brilliance was seen at her solo show at Vadehras last year and Atul's brilliance was seen at his show at Bodhi Art which travelled from Singapore to Delhi and will travel to Bodhi Art's new space at Mumbai next month.

"But Atul Dodiya has had a number of shows with Vadehras at Delhi. At Sotheby's March auction to be held on March 29, Atul's "Sabari as Mermaid" is estimated at 12,000 - 18,000 USD whereas his "My Home in Angkor" from Bodhi Art's Angkor show is estimated at 80,000 - 120,000 USD. At Sotheby's Anju Dodiya's "The Churning" again from the Angkor show at Bodhi Art in Delhi is estimated at 40,000 - 60,000 USD.


Let's look at Autl's prices at auctions: Year 2006 Rs 1.21 crore Year 2005 Rs 21, 39,521 Year 2003 Rs 2,52,000 Year 2002 Rs 2,74,000 Year 2001 Rs 59,993

Last minute bids were streaming in for Baiju Parthan, GR Iranna and Manish Pushkale. Jagannath Panda, gloriously controversial for his high prices (allegedly the result of an art nexus among gallerists) was sailing way past his estimates, but in an evening that saw several new highs, Bose Krishnamachari, Justin Ponmany, Surendran Nair and Jittish Kallat doubled their estimates, Manisha Parekh trebled hers, and others like Anjum Singh, Sunil Padwal and Baiju Parthan simply sold way over their best watermarks.

Subodh Gupta's painting of milkpails went for Rs 28 lakh, and his installation of two bicycles with mail cans, set a new high with Rs 60 lakh.

Foe Saffronart it's a win win situation and the registers are ringing loud and clear.The market is at this point time is red hot for Indian art.

First Published: Mar 22, 2006 15:58 IST