Madras Eye: An online auction revisits Chennai’s art and heritage
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Madras Eye: An online auction revisits Chennai’s art and heritage

From paintings and photographs to collectibles like vintage Old Monk bottles and talcum powder tins from 1960s are all part of the sale.

mumbai Updated: Oct 18, 2018 19:19 IST
Krutika Behrawala
Krutika Behrawala
Hindustan Times
Madras sale,Auction,Online auction
A 1930s photograph of Moore Market Complex, which is in Park Town, Chennai.(Ashvitas)

Madras Sale, an online auction of fine art, photography and collectibles
  • WHEN October 18 and 19
  • WHERE Ashvitas.com

From sepia-toned photographs of 1930s Chennai to kiln-fired terracotta dolls made in the 1940s and vintage head-shaped Old Monk bottles, Madras Sale, a two-day online sale that begins on October 18, caters to all kinds of collectors.

It’s the inaugural auction of Ashvita’s, an online platform borne out of the now-defunct Ashvita Fine Art, a gallery founded by curator and art consultant Ashvin Rajagopalan in 2002. Rajagopalan says going digital has a way to reach out to “a new generation of Indian collectors who don’t feel the need to be in the same space to view the artwork”. He’s aiming for young buyers – the kind who like shopping online and are comfortable spending up to Rs 10,000 on items they have never seen in person.

The top lots include Girl (1961), a portrait of an unknown young woman by the noted painter-teacher L Munuswamy. (Ashvitas)

The auction features 65 lots, including fine art, photography, prints and collectibles like powder tins from 1960s and luggage labels of the erstwhile Hotel Connemara. The photographs are from the Wiele & Klein Photography Studio, Madras, which were developed from the original glass plate negatives in 2002. Together, they showcase Chennai’s cultural and artistic heritage.

Three vintage head-shaped Old Monk bottles are also part of the sale. (Ashvitas)

Bids start at Rs 1,500. “We want to reach out to the crowd that goes online to buy a wall poster for their home. The difference is that these are one-of-a-kind, quality pieces and yet affordable,” says Rajagopalan.

The top lots include Girl (1961), a portrait of an unknown young woman by the noted painter-teacher L Munuswamy. He is considered one of the most important modernists to come out of the Madras School.

The sale also highlights works by TRP Mookiah, P Perumal, R Varadarajan and other artists from the region. “The artists of Madras School have been highly academic and devoted to their work,” says Rajagopalan. “They were rarely part of the main art market because of lack of support from galleries in the city. The idea is to revive their importance.”

First Published: Oct 18, 2018 19:19 IST