Sotheby’s auction of Indian and Southeast Asian Art will be held in New York on 18 March, during the Spring Asia Week. The sale consists of fine examples of Modern and Contemporary painting and photography, Indian miniatures, and ancient Himalayan and Indian works of art. The auction house estimates that the sale will bring in excess of $2.7 million (about Rs14 crore). Lounge spoke with Maithili Parekh, deputy director, Sotheby’s, about auction in time of recession.
Isn’t it risky to hold an auction during the downturn?
MF Husain, Horses
Sotheby’s, established in 1744, has seen many economic cycles. We believe that top quality art, with strong provenance and in good condition will always find a suitable collector. We continue to have auctions of Indian art as we believe this is a strong market and our client base is ever expanding.
With the recession, there must be a shift in the buyer profile?
Passionate collectors with means continue to buy and collect good works of art. The “investors” who were buying and selling works to make a quick buck are perhaps much lesser seen now.
Tell us about some of the artworks on offer?
We have a wonderful group of works by MF Husain including Horses, (estimate,$100,000-150,000), a fine example of the subject that the artist returned to repeatedly in his work. The cover lot, also by Husain, titled Two Women,painted in the mid-1970s is an exquisite example of the master’s work.
Radha with her attendant, from the Sunder Shringar
Another modern highlight is Akbar Padamsee’s Nude from 1960, (estimate, $200,000-300,000). Contemporary highlights include an untitled work by T.V. Santhosh (estimate $8,000-12,000). There is also a rare 14th century Mandala of Manjushri and The Pancharaksha, from Nepal or Tibet (estimate $150,000-200,000).
Do Indian bidders have preference for any particualar kind of art?
Our Indian clients have varied tastes and some collect modern, while others gravitate toward contemporary. Older Indian art such as miniatures and sculpture also has a dedicated group of very passionate collectors. We have noticed in the past few years that some collectors who might buy a 16th century miniature are also keen buyers of, say, a Bharti Kher contemporary work.
There are quite a few miniatures up for auction.
We have an outstanding collection of miniatures including illustrations from the Shangri Ramayana, Harivamsa and Mahabharata. A very special one is an illustration from the Sunder Shringar: Radha in conversation with her attendant attributed to the Guler or Kangra school.
Shaiva manuscript covers, polychrome wood, Nepal
For further details, log on to www.sothebys.com