Swaminathan goes for Rs.25 million at auction (LEAD)

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) Artist J. Swaminathan's work 'Bird and Mountain Series' went for a whopping Rs.25 million (Rs.2.5 crores) at an auction here. The other art works that fetched high bids were by F.N. Souza and Ram Kumar, both for Rs 11 million (Rs 1.1 crores).

Thursday, October 26, 2006 | 6:08:48 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) Artist J. Swaminathan's work 'Bird and Mountain Series' went for a whopping Rs.25 million (Rs.2.5 crores) at an auction here. The other art works that fetched high bids were by F.N. Souza and Ram Kumar, both for Rs 11 million (Rs 1.1 crores).

'An auction house that will serve the art market rather than serve themselves. An auction house that will base its functioning on transparency and help further the careers of young artists,' said collector Nina Pillai, chairperson of Triveda, whose first auction took off to a not so heady start Wednesday evening at The Grand here, with low and slow bidding on the early Bengal School.

It was interesting to watch Osian's art collector and connoisseur Neville Tuli sitting at the front row and bidding. Tuli picked up Bikash Bhattacharya's portrait of a blind woman 'And the Twilight' for Rs.6.3 million.

Triveda's debut boasted of a few works of merit from the Bengal School, two sterling stunners and a few new runners in the fray. J. Swaminathan's 'Bird and Mountain Series', an evocative rendition done as far back as the 1970's took the highest slot. His son S. Kalidas stood in front of the work and hoped it would not leave the country with a non-resident Indian (NRI). He also said it caused 'heartburn'.

The next work to catch the bidding frenzy was Ram Kumar's oil on canvas of the early 60's, which went for Rs.11 million.

While a Souza landscape of 1989 went for Rs.6.8 million, his 1993 landscape fetched Rs 11 million. His 'Two Heads' went down under the hammer for Rs.12 million.

M.F. Husain's works garnered a little interest with his 'Gandhi' going for Rs.6 million, which was the lower estimate. His 'horses' went for Rs.3.8 million each while his 'Bengali Woman' went for Rs.3.2 million. Husain's 'Year of the Horse' took the banner down at Rs.7.8 million.

Particularly disappointing was S.H. Raza's 'Germination' - a high-rise work that was expected to tip the bids for feverish activity, but went for a song at Rs.7.5 million. Also of equal interest was Anjolie Ela Menon's 'Waiting At The Window' which went for Rs.5.8 million. It was somewhat of a low since the estimate was Rs.6 million to Rs. 7 million.

In a departure from the usual, there were a lot of newcomers on the art scene and the prices were comfortably low.

The credit for getting works directly from collectors and satisfying the problems of provenance that have irked recent auctions - even at Christie's and Sotheby's - were set to rest because Pillai had sourced works herself. She also pitched in works from her own art collection.

The early Bengal school works were sourced by Patrick Bowring, while the contemporary works were sourced by Pillai.

The auction was a mixed bag, but Pillai's friends and collectors turned out to support her. Among them were Rekha and Aroon Purie, Aman Nath and Francis Wacziarg, Rohit Gandhi, Anjolie Ela Menon and several others who have known Pillai for over two decades.

'We begin slowly,' said Pillai who was happy about the Swaminathan and is ready with her next auction, which will again be a mix of works from a private collector, who is equally happy to lend Triveda more than a helping hand.

Copyright : Indo-Asian News Service
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