Rare finds: Christie’s brings early art by Raza, Souza to Mumbai

The paintings are among 89 lots being previewed in the city ahead of the annual South Asian modern and contemporary art sale in New York.

mumbai Updated: Aug 22, 2018 19:50 IST
Krutika Behrawala
Krutika Behrawala
Hindustan Times
Mumbai art,Auction,Christie's
Manjit Bawa’s 7.4-ft-tall untitled painting of a circus acrobat floating above two horses will also be on display.
Preview of Christie’s South Asian modern and contemporary art sale lots
  • WHEN August 23 to 25, 11 am to 6 pm
  • WHERE Christie’s office, Dhanraj Mahal, Apollo Bunder

In 1958, Syed Haider Raza painted a townscape inspired by his travels in the French countryside. This painting, titled Paysage, was exhibited at Galerie Dresdnere in Montreal the following year, bought by a collector and remained there ever since.

This week, it visits Mumbai for the first time, and will be on display among 11 other paintings at a Christie’s exhibition.

Alongside Paysage, expect to see Raza’s fluid and evocative Le Lac (1964) and two early works by FN Souza – Winter Landscape (1956) depicting North London where he lived and worked in the 1950s and ’60s, and an untitled still life of flowers.

The paintings are among 89 lots set to go under the hammer at Christie’s annual South Asian modern and contemporary art sale in New York in September.

Rooftops by Akbar Padamsee (1959) represents the artist’s progression towards eliminating colour from his work.

The sale, estimated to fetch over $7 million, includes works by Tyeb Mehta, Akbar Padamsee, Manjit Bawa, MF Husain, VS Gaitonde and Nasreen Mohamedi.

“Many of these artists left India after Independence and moved to Europe and the US on grants. Some of the works they made during those times were bought by international collectors and have stayed out of the country,” says Sonal Singh, specialist and director at Christie’s India.

The top lots of the sale are on preview. So expect to see Mehta’s Diagonal XV (1975) featuring figures splintered by a lightning bolt-like line. And Bawa’s 7.4-ft-tall untitled painting of a circus acrobat floating above two horses. Also, Padamsee’s Rooftops (1959), which represents the artist’s progression towards eliminating colour from his work.

“His artist friends bought many of his paintings. This one was part of [the late artist and collector] Bal Chhabda’s collection,” Singh says.

A lecture and presentation on Padamsee and modern Indian art will be held on Thursday.

First Published: Aug 22, 2018 19:50 IST