Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Baroda artist Preyas Mehta among Indians invited for 1st Langkawi Art Biennale

Baroda painter Preyas Mehta is among several Indian artists invited for the  Langkawi Art Biennale 2014, the first such event in Malaysia, that will be held from October 12 to 21.
Other artists invited from India include Babita Das, Ashok Kumar, Ganesh Chandra Basu, and Puspita Ray.
The event, organized by Art Malaysia Association and supported the country's Ministry of Tourism and Culture and orther organizations, will see the participation of artists from Malaysia and 37 other countries.
The biennale, which is on the theme of migration, is expected to bring art enthusiasts from around the world to Langkawi island.
The event will take place along Pantai Cenang, a picturesque two km beach with long stretches of white sand.
Mehta completed his B.A. (Fine) in Applied Arts from the M.S. University of Baroda here and has been active as a sculptor, painter and photographer and has exhibited in shows around the country. Most recently, he had exhibited at the International Art Group show "Across the Ocean" at the Birla Art Academy in Kolkata.
Basu is an artist and a freelance writer and has participated in more than 100 international and national shows and held some 40 solo exhibitions.
Ray has a BA degree in Bengali and is an artist and a writer. Apart from publishing several books, she has held solo exhibitions of her works and participated in group shows.
Ashok Kumar has a degree in Fine Arts from the College of Arts, Patna and then studied painting at the L’Ecole Superieure Des Beaux­Arts de Marseille, France. 
Some of the group exhibitions that he has participating in include the Sixth Biennial of Contemporary Indian Arts, (Bhopal), International Biennale Art Exhibition at Dallas (USA), contemporary art exhibition created by the artists residence ‘Crossings’ by Frac Reunion at MOCA, Saint Dennis (Reunion Island) and international art exhibition by SODEFA (Chandigarh).
Das has an M.A. in Fine Arts in Printmaking from Viswa Bharati Universty and has worked as an Indian National Scholar. She has been teaching art at primary and secondary Levels at a private school in Kolkata, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, since 1996. She has held more than 25 solo exhibitions and participated in an equal number of group exhibitions.
NetIndian News Network
Vadodara, October 7, 2014

Christie’s bids for another high in Indian art market

SummaryChristie’s first auction in Mumbai in 2013 was a phenomenal success, establishing the highest price for a work of art ever sold in India.

Jehangir Sabavala’s The Green Cape, oil on canvas, painted in 1974, is likely to fetch between R1.2 crore and R1.8 crore.

Jehangir Sabavala’s The Green Cape, oil on canvas, painted in 1974,  is likely to fetch between R1.2 crore and R1.8 crore.
Jehangir Sabavala’s The Green Cape, oil on canvas, painted in 1974, is likely to fetch between R1.2 crore and R1.8 crore.

When London-based auction house Christie’s holds its second auction in Mumbai on December 11, it will be capitalising on a market that it shook up last year. Christie’s first auction in Mumbai in 2013 was a phenomenal success, establishing the highest price for a work of art ever sold in India, and the total sale of R96,59,37,500 was double the pre-sale expectations.

Some recent successful sales by Indian auction houses have just reinforced the fact that good art will attract buyers and better prices. For instance, an auction by Delhi-based Saffronart last month sold 83 artworks for over R38 crore in one evening, apart from a Jehangir Sabavala painting for R3 crore.
An online auction of modern and contemporary art by Indian artists, including MF Husain, SH Raza and Anjolie Ela Menon, raised R20 crore last month. In the auction conducted by, Raza’s work, titled Bhoomi, sold for R5.3 crore.

However, are high values for Indian art and successful sales here to stay?

Christie's international director of Asian art Amin Jaffer certainly thinks so. Positive about this year's auction too, he says early indications are for strong results once again. In an email response to FE, he promises Christie's will have a good selection, particularly of works by modern masters. Giving details, he says the auction house already has a sublime landscape by Sabavala from 1974, The Green Cape, with a pre-sale estimate of R1.2-1.8 crore and a rare Tyeb Mehta portrait. Other artists include Bhupen Khakhar, Subodh Gupta, Rashid Rana, Mithu Sen, Bharti Kher, Nilima Sheikh and Thukral & Tagra.

Seeing last year's response, Christie's has decided to make the sale an annual affair in India. As Jaffer says, “We are committed to the Indian market for the long term. We have had a presence in India for 20 years but feel the time is right to make our auctions part of the art calendar, alongside other initiatives that will ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for the art market in India.”
Kishore Singh, head, publications & exhibitions, Delhi Art Gallery, says everyone is waiting and watching for Christie's second auction that will truly define the market for Indian art. “The first auction was a superb collection of artworks and had the entire might of Christie's behind it. Let's see if the second auction matches it in terms of quality and value.” He terms the first auction an 'aberration', saying only sustained success will help the Indian market, especially unestablished artists. He also points out that no phenomenal sales of Indian art happened globally immediately after the auction in India. However, with recent successful auctions, he predicts the value of Indian art to go up to R100 crore by end of the decade. If that's not success, what is?

Ivinder Gill | New Delhi | Published: Oct 08 2014

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Stolen Ganesha in US to return soon

CHENNAI: The Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, US, has said it will return the nearly 1,000-year-old bronze Ganesha idol, which it bought from art thief Subhash Kapoor, to the Indian government. The museum purchased the idol from Kapoor in 2006 for nearly $245,000. Kapoor, now facing trial in Tamil Nadu, likely stole it from a Shiva temple in Sripuranthan, Ariyalur, along with other idols such as the Nataraja that Australia returned recently.

The Ganesha will be the third stolen idol that Tamil Nadu is getting back in the Kapoor case. The bronze Nataraja and a stone Ardharanari were returned by Australia in September.

In March 18, TOI ["US museum ready to return stolen Ganesha"] reported that the museum authorities were in touch with the US Justice Department about the idol though the Indian government hadn't yet approached the museum. "The Indian government got in touch with us shortly after your [TOI] story appeared," said Kelly Fritz-Garrow, director of communications at TMA.

Fritz-Garrow said that after evaluating the evidence that the Indian authorities supplied, the museum's director Brian Kennedy recommended to the museum's Arts Committee that the idol should be returned and the committee accepted it late August. "It's now up to the Indian government to organize the transfer," said Fritz-Garrow.

Just as in the case of the Nataraja, the Ganesha is returning after an investigation across many countries by police, media and independent bloggers. In the middle of 2013, Singapore-based blogger Vijay Kumar Sundaresan matched the photograph of the Ganesha at Sripuranthan taken by the French Institute of Pondicherry (IFP) with that of the Ganesha at Toledo. Investigative journalist Jason Felch, then of the Los Angeles Times, contacted TMA in July of that year about the Ganesha. In December, 2013, Selina Mohamed, a Kapoor associate, was chargesheeted in a New York court for creating fake provenance certificates of several artefacts including that of the Ganesha.

TMA officials say that they wrote to the Consulate General of India in New York in July, 2013, after Felch's inquiry but received no response until the TOI report appeared in March, 2014.

The investigation is continuing in regards to many other items that TMA acquired from Kapoor.

M Kalyanaraman, TNN

Rare Imperial photos, miniatures, jewelery at London sale

New Delhi: A Mughal-era manuscript filled with Indian miniatures discovered locked up in a cupboard inside a rural England castle is now up for sale at Sotheby's upcoming auction in London.

Ancient Indian artifacts

Also on offer at the auction titled 'Art of Imperial India' scheduled for 8th October is a group of albums containing historical black and photographs of India.
"The contents of the sale is very eclectic. One very old manuscript with 140 miniatures in it was discovered in a cupboard in a castle owned by the Duke of Northumberland," Edward Gibbs, Chairman and Head of the Middle East and India departments at Sotheby's, London said.

"The manuscript is quite splendid and looking at the miniatures is a very intimate experience as it was locked up so it has been preserved in pristine condition in its original binding and not subject to natural light or insects. It's an exciting find for scholars and historians and those in auction business," Gibbs said.
The illustrated book, which Gibbs says is 'about the size of an iPad' is likely to originate from end of 17th century.

"Interestingly the manuscript contains an earlier portrait of Shah Jahan in his old age on folio seven, and this appears to have been added at some point after the production of the work," auctioneers said.
Towards the end of the sale is featured a group of 31 albums containing over 2,000 photographs of India, Ceylon, Burma and South East Asia dating from the 1850s to the early 20th century.
Sourced from London-based collector Sven Gahlin, provenances of the album date to the family of Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India among others.
"Gahlin has been slowly putting together a collection of photos of India. He has been a true pioneer in the filed going to flea markets, jumble sales and other sales. The collection runs to thousands of photos of historical places, costume studies of the courts of the maharajahs etc," Gibbs said.
The photos, according to auctioneers can be broadly categorized into three categories- architecture, topographic images and generic subjects.
It includes among others 'views and people in Bombay, Agra, Delhi, Amritsar, Darjeeling, Kashmir, the Himalayas, Calcutta, and Ceylon'.
Among the group photographs is one of the Maharajah of Kashmir and his entourage, and one of another tribal leader.
A set of photographs of the train for the Viceroy of India which was constructed in the workshops of East Indian Railway Company 1902-1904. The images include a exterior view of the train, and images of the interior including the viceroy's office, bedroom, bathroom, the dining saloon, kitchen, servant's apartment and guards compartment. It has been estimated to fetch Rs 151,454 - Rs 201,939.
A diamond, rubies and emerald 'maharani necklace' from late 19th century Rajasthan also features in the Art of Imperial India sale. Auctioneers have estimated it to fetch between 2.5 crore to Rs 3 crore.
Jewelery and works of art from the Mughal and the Rajput courts as well as the period of the Raj also feature in the sale, auctioneers said.

The sale is part of the India Islamic Week, which began on 3rd October and is spread across three major auctions – the Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, Art of Imperial India and Arts of the Islamic World.
Tyeb Mehta's 1982 'Blue Painting' the property of Japan's Glenbarra Art Museum is most expensive of the lot at the Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art scheduled on 7th October with a reserve price of Rs 60,177,751 - Rs 80,237,001, auctioners say.

Other works on offer are those by M F Husain, S H Raza, Rashid Rana, Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher.

"This a really a feast of Indian art. I think it is very exciting to see how there is a continuity of modern contemporary with classical historical because you see contemporary art does not appear out of thin air but is rooted in tradition," Gibbs said.
Stating that there is 'something for all tastes and pockets', Gibbs said the advantage of having all the sales in the week is to 'cross market it to different potential buyers'.

"A large scale company school album was brought by an Indian collector in the first edition of the Art of the Imperial last year," Gibbs said.

Jagran Post News Desk  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Works worth Rs. 12cr stolen from painter Ram Kumar’s house

Three paintings made by renowned artist Ram Kumar, valued at around Rs. 4 crore each, have been stolen from his home in east Delhi’s Preet Vihar.

The 90-year-old is one of the most important names in modern Indian art and a contemporary of other greats like MF Hussain, SH Raza and Tyeb Mehta.

The stolen canvases were part of his signature Sad Town series painted in 1956 – a dark body of work depicting India in industrial transition, with the country’s mega towns battling unemployment, rising prices and migration from villages.

Kumar was decorated with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian honour, in 2010 and the Padma Shri in 1972.

Kumar stored the valuable paintings for the last five years in the basement of his home in east Delhi’s Bharti Artist Colony, where he lives with domestic help BB Shankar.

The theft was discovered on Sunday after Kumar’s son—settled in Australia -- visited the Bharti Artist colony house and advised the artist to shift the works out of the basement studio.

“On Sunday, we went to the basement and found three canvases missing. Some other items were also missing but the three ‘Sad Town series’ paintings were the costliest. They have won several awards, including the Lalit Kala Academy award,” Kumar told HT.

According to the artist, a painting of his Sad Town series was sold for Rs. 4 crore during an international exhibition in London last year.

He said the stolen paintings were last displayed in an exhibition at the Lalit Kala Academy in Delhi four years ago.

Ajay Kumar, deputy commissioner of police (east), confirmed that a case of theft had been registered at Preet Vihar police station and a team formed to probe the crime.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Show offers unique look at Indian art

Monday, September 22, 2014
It's not often one gets to see contemporary art from India in Hong Kong. However, an unique exhibition Kala Sutra is on view at the Visual Arts Centre in Hong Kong Park.

Closing at 8pm today, the exhibition features 45 works by nine of India's most celebrated masters across generations: Jogen Chowdhury, K Laxma Goud, Lalu Prasad Shaw, Manoj Dutta, (late) MF Husain, Neeraj Goswami, Ram Kumar, Satish Gujral and Thota Vaikuntam.

The show explores "the existence of a link, however feeble, between the art of the past with that executed down the line, of any nation is therefore proof enough of its heritage, that is still alive and kicking."

Indeed, India's cultural heritage is rich, strong and deeply ingrained into the cultural subconscious of those practicing art today. One of the two major challenges for contemporary Indian artists is to assert their own presence on a par with, or even surpassing, that of their ancestors, while paying tribute and respect to them.

The second challenge is for these artists to prove that beyond India's borders, how strong they are through originality and creativity an individualistic, unique artistic vocabulary that stems from the Indian context, but with relevance to the global discourse, according to curator Arun Ghose.
This subtle dialogue, be it between the past and present or East and West, is summed up aptly through the two terms "convergence" and "confluence," as detailed in the subheading to the exhibition. And the artistic styles on display are certainly diverse. From rural simplicity to urban sophistication, from a Cubism-esque abstraction to figurative portraiture, Kala Sutra is testament to the timeless continuity of Indian art.

The exhibition, presented by Sanchit Art of New Delhi and Red Peppers Entertainment, opened on Friday and is on at the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre, 7A Kennedy Road. Admission is free. Architectural critic Nicholas Ho and art historian Stephanie Poon don't always see eye to eye.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Indian art needs a discerning market

What is the new buzz about the art auctions? asked a non-arty friend of mine last evening when he found me thumbing through a couple of auctions catalogues. What about them, I wondered? Considering the whole premise of an auction is that there should be more than one buyer for any work, who in turn are willing to compete to acquire those works and the highest bidder finally bags the work in question. Simplistic? Yes. Over simplistic. And illogical too.

For every gallery owner tells me that the business of art nose-dived during the recession and is yet to pick up. There is little interest in art buying for the moment, and in this scenario holding an auction is to my mind, completely illogical. I mean why go through the angst of collecting the works, getting provenances, printing a catalogue – a huge exercise in itself by any stretch of imagination, holding a physical auction – with all the related nitty-gritty of the event, getting audiences, media et al. I know hope springs eternal in the human heart, but hoping against hope is hardly business sense.As I was waxing eloquent, my non-arty friend continued to look at me in a very perplexed manner. Unable to bear it any more, I halted mid-diatribe and said: What is so mystifying? He retorted: I thought you all were the art types, not concerned about the business of it. You should be glad that at least someone is willing to put in money for art if not in art to let it remain in the news, if nothing else.
He had a point. And a big one at that. Almost within a span of a month, five big auctions of Indian contemporary art have been held in New Delhi, London, Kolkata and Mumbai. Insiders tell me that nothing much sold at these auctions and makes me wonder if it was a mere tax write off. And at the same time, it makes me wonder if people across the cities had the same thought or was there something else at play apart from valiant attempts to give art markets a boost? Like off loading works for instance?
I know I sound like the proverbial broken record when I go on about the need for an educated and discerning art market that comprises art critics, buyers, cognoscenti, media and not merely its creators who must have a sense of historicity and must be able to position Indian art globally. It is just the correct time to do this in a sustained and organised manner when the buying and selling is not so brisk, we should use this time to tom-tom our wares correctly.
But whatever the commercial fate of these auctions, the one thing that I personally am delighted about is the fact that Indian abstract art is finally coming into its own, both nationally and internationally. Gaitonde’s work is being positioned
correctly. Some other works that one may not see anywhere are being dragged out of the closet and shown off!
The other news doing the rounds is the story of Sheetal Mafatlal allegedly replacing originals with photographs on canvas and blaming her friends for the switch. I read the whole story and wondered how on earth can digital photographs printed on canvas replace paintings even for the absolute layperson? Then of course there are others who actually practise this style: Of printing photographs on canvas and then painting on top of it as a matter of personal technique. What I think of it is another matter, but of that another time!
Dr Alka Raghuvanshi is an art writer, curator and artist and can be contacted on alkaraghuvanshi@