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    Christie’s brings four paintings to town ahead of their Indian Art Sale

    Christie’s, the multinational art auction house, has something exciting in store for the city’s art connoisseurs. As a prelude to their third annual Indian Art Sale in Mumbai, they are hosting a preview for a select few at the Taj Coromandel. Sonal Singh, the Mumbai head of department for South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art, says the strong collector base in  the city put Chennai “on Christie’s radar”.

    For two hours, four paintings  from the art sale—an untitled acrylic on canvas by Tyeb Mehta, The Casuarina Line II by Jehangir Sabhvala, and 1two untitled oils on canvas by Majit Bawa and Hemendranath Mazumdar—will be on view. London-based William Robinson, the international head of world art, will also speak on Bikaner’s miniature paintings, as they will go on auction in Mumbai. “At the inaugural auction of Christie’s in 2013, a Gaitonde was sold for Rs 23.7 crore and set a record then. This year, too, we hope the trend continues,” says Singh, adding that the highlight of the auction is the addition of Indian classical art work. “A natural progression led us to include this segment—consisting of bronze and stone sculptures, and miniature paintings—as we see increasing interest for it.”

    New trends
    Singh says they are seeing more people wanting to spend on art. “The lowest estimate for a work of art at the sale is Rs 1.5 to Rs 2 lakh, which makes for a good purchase for a starter. The highest is Rs 12-Rs 15 crore,” she says, explaining that many are collecting art as they want to bring classical work back to India. When it comes to emerging art, she says, “It’s certain centres like the Cholamandal Artists’ Village, Santiniketan in  West Bengal, Sir JJ School of Art in Mumbai and the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda that are creating interesting art.”

    Act two
    Christie’s, headquartered in London, is nurturing the market through several initiatives as well. “We support The Aesthetics Project in Delhi, an annual forum for classical Indian art, and the Dhaka Art Summit in Bangladesh, a South Asian forum for contemporary Indian art.”
    Apart from Chennai, the preview is also going to be held in Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. “In the near future, we plan to hold previews in Hyderabad and Bengaluru as well. It’s all about being inclusive,” she concludes.

    On December 6, at the Taj Coromandel. By invite only.

    Seema Rajpal

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