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State of Art

When the hammer comes down at the Christie’s South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art auction on March 23 in New York out of 92 lots on sale...

Written by Vandana Kalra |
March 5, 2010 10:58:17 pm

FN Souza is the artist to look out for at the upcoming Christie’s auction in New York

When the hammer comes down at the Christie’s South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art auction on March 23 in New York out of 92 lots on sale,19 will belong to renowned Indian artist FN Souza. “He is an artist who has not been written about as much,and in the coming years his prices are bound to increase. This is the time to purchase his work,” suggested Hugo Weihe,international director,Asian Art,Christie’s,as he introduced the highlights of the auction in India on Wednesday.

Less than three weeks before the auction,he seemed confident that the economic slowdown was no longer a concern. “It is the quality of artwork that matters,” he pointed out. The history of canvases make them interesting,according to him. So,with each artwork in the catalogue come details of its provenance. “This canvas comes from a

French collector,who was Raza’s friend,” said Weihe,glancing at a 1989 Raza canvas Gestation (estimated at $ 6,00,000- $ 8,00,000),that has his trademark bindu in earthy colours. Moving to 1963 FN Souza Beasts of Prey ,he reveals,“This belongs to the period when Souza was following Darwinism.” The sheer rawness of the oil,with wild beasts engaged in a combat for survival against a skyline depicted with thick brushstrokes of white and blue,make it a brutal depiction of the struggle for survival.

While there are other significant work of masters,including a VS Gaitonde oil and MF Husain early 1970s canvas,among the contemporaries is Atul Dodiya’s Cracks in Mondrian – Hyderabad ,where the Mumbai-based artist paints an abstract rendition of ancient Indian provinces and hinges it on a PVC pipe. TV Santhosh’s A Theory of Antithesis takes inspiration from Hegel’s idea of history. “Deliberate attempt is made to balance the modern and contemporary art,since there is a market for both,” said Yamini Mehta,director,Modern and Contemporary Indian art. Both have huge expectations from the auction though. “We hope that this year our annual turnover of Indian art is higher than 15 million dollars recorded last year,” says Mehta.

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