17th June, 2008

In a rare occurrence, the Saffronart summer auction, to be held online Wednesday and Thursday, will bring together 140 works of 67 modern and contemporary artists.

'Essentially, both these styles of art have traditionally different buyers in the market. European and non-Indian buyers seem to identify more with contemporary Indian artists, and hence their demand is currently more in the west,' says Dinesh Vazirani, director of Saffronart.

According to Vazirani, Indian buyers have a greater connect and nostalgic feeling towards the modernists. So, artists like Francis Newton Souza, Syed Haider Raza and Maqbool Fida Husain, among others, fetch high prices.

By putting contemporary and modern artists together for this auction, Saffronart is hoping to see some non-Indian buyers take a keener interest in modern artists and vice-versa with the Indian buyers and contemporary artists.

The works on sale include the 1992 'Germination' catalogue cover by Raza, Subodh Gupta's shimmering utensils, one 1942 sketch by Souza as well as his 1995 'St Sabastian', and one of the conceptual landscapes from Jagdish Swaminathan's 'Mountain, Bird and Tree' series.

The highest valued piece in the auction is Raza's 'Germination', priced between Rs.27.5 million to Rs.37.5 million. Gupta, Swaminathan, Souza, Husain, Jagannath Panda, T.V. Santosh, Rashid Rana, Badri Narayan and Atul Dodiya form the unique line-up of this auction.

Equally rare are Meera Mukherjee's bronze sculptures cast from the lost wax method and a velvet clad fibreglass sculpture of a cow inspired by Nandi, the bull that Hindu god Shiva rides.

This summer auction is the 21st in the series by Saffronart, with a total lower estimate of approximately Rs.270 million.

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