1st Dec. 2002

Of Auctions And Solitary Tales
Suneet Chopra

The preview of the Saffronart Online Auction held at the Taj Mahal Hotel on Man Singh Road, which is slated for December 1-4, certainly brought home the fact that good art sells on the Net. At least, good art can be accessed by those who sell it on the Net. Indeed, it does, and does so globally. Recently, Arushi Arts sold a superb Souza-N K Sareen collaborative work to a German collector through the Net. And this time, the whole of the 'Connect...' show can be accessed at Artalive, while the Saffronart auction and bidding will take place at The auction rules require bidders to pre-register at least 12 hours prior to the start of the auction, that is, 9 am IST on December 1 and 10.30 pm US Eastern Time on November 30. The auction closes at 10.30 pm IST Dece'mber 4, or 12 noon USET on December 4. This can be done via the computer through e-mail procedures. An excellent rendering of a Mughal theme to fit modern times by
Lallu Prasad Shaw
There is a fine Souza head of 1961, an oil on canvas, which shows how this masterly artist blends line and colour, creating depth out of the judiciously treated surface of his canvases. This head (Lot 45) is extremely sensitively executed and is likely to fetch the Rs 5-7.5 lakh expected of it. Then there is a Badri Narayan still life (Lot 61) of the 1960s with a bird to give it a narrative dimension. At Rs 85,000-95,000, this, too, is likely to sell. Then there is a G R Santosh oil on canvas (Lot 64), again of 1962, which ought to sell at Rs 1.5-2 lakh. There is also the Lalu Prasad Shaw take off on the Mughal theme of a camel fight, only this time, it is a dog and bitch about to copulate (Lot 93), a tempera on paper, which has every reason to go at between Rs. 1.25 lakh and Rs 1.75 lakh. Similarly, Lot 121, a study of a Telugu farmer by Laxma Goud, a watercolour on paper, ought to find a buyer at between Rs 45,000 and Rs 50,000. Navjot Altaf's oil on canvas, Les Miserables, of 1994 ought also to sell at between Rs 95,000 and Rs 1.25 lakh. Arpana Caur's oil on canvas, Earth And Sky (Lot 151), reflecting a working woman's daily drudgery and dreams, ought to sell at Rs 1.25-1.75 lakh. Radha Binode Sharma's still life of a streetside kebab stall (Lot 172) ought also to find a buyer at Rs 80,000-90,000.

Now for the expected sales. I would expect both of Bendre's pointilliste works to go, an oil on canvas depicting the Konoor landscape (Lot 5) at Rs 12.5-17.5 lakh, and a 1954 oil on canvas of farm labourers coming home in the evening (Lot 6), at Rs 4.75-6.75 lakh. Similarly, a Husain oil on canvas of horses painted in the 1970s (Lot 16) ought to sell at between Rs 5.75 and Rs 6.75 lakh, though I feel that it is his watercolour, Homage To Cimabve IV (Rs 1.5-2 lakh), that could even go over the top. Arpita Singh's portrait of her uncle ought also to be sold above the minimum price of Rs 5.25 lakh. Of course, the best of Ganesh Pyne and Anjolie Ela Menon are bound to sell, though I would favour Ganesh Pyne's monkey on a leash (a metaphor for the human who compromises to get high office), Lot 98, at Rs 3.25-3.75 lakh, and Menon's Man At Window of 1982 (Lot 117), priced at Rs 8.5-9.5 lakh. In the same way, Jogen Choudhury's Couple, showing the man masturbating, reflecting the alienation one finds in man-woman relations in an unequal society, ought to sell at between Rs 4.50 lakh and Rs 5.50 lakh.

The list is not exhaustive, but one can see that the works reflect a wide range and the best are sensitively chosen. What is more, this show is very different from the one Bowring's have mounted. But they seek to complement each other. If you want Jamini Roy, it is Bowring's, but the Mumbai group is definitely better represented at Saffronart. So no one need be disappointed.   

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