Chicago-based Wright Auction House is once again set to auction another set of heritage furniture from Chandigarh during its auction on March 26 in Chicago.
In all, 10 items designed by city’s founder architect Le Corbusier’s cousin Pierre Jeanneret will be auctioned, and the house expects to earn somewhere between S1.67 lakh and $2.36 lakh( nearly 1.4 crore) from the auction.
“Rare designs by Pierre Jeanneret, including a sofa and lounge chair from Chandigarh, illustrate the finesse of French design filtered through an Indian sensibility”, reads the information available on the auction house’s website.
Among the items to be auctioned, the highest bid has been made for a committee conference table from Chandigarh, which is between $70,000 and $90,000 (Rs 40-Rs 54 lakh).
Some of the other items include a sofa from the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which is estimated to go anywhere between $30,000 and $ 50,000, a pair of demountable chairs estimated to be between $15,000 and $ 20,000, a console of a similar price range, and a pair of lounge chairs tagged between $15,000 and $ 20,000.
City advocate Ajay Jagga said the proposed auction of the Chandigarh Administration and of the high court in USA is “shocking”. Although a large of artifacts have been smuggled out of India, no inquiry has been initiated into how these furniture reached the US, he said.
“The UT Administration could have sold these items to foreign auction houses by way of global/international auctions and earned crores for the state exchequer, but they let these furniture to be siphoned off from here, and by the time they wake up, a huge amount of treasure gets lost,” said Jagga.
As per information, this is not the first auction. In the last three years, Wright Auction House has sold dozens of such pieces and earned crores.
In an auction of heritage furniture in 2013, seven lots of furniture were sold for $167,132 or around Rs 1 crore. The UT Administration, meanwhile, had done nothing, except for asking different institutes in the city for an inventory for the heritage items.