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From left Rabindranath Tagore – Untitled (Lot 24) Hemendranath Mazumder, Aviman (Lot 26)

Bid & Hammer celebrates its centenary with Indian greats

CELEBRATING 100 years since the inception of its parent company, auction house Bid & Hammer curates rare works of art by some of the country’s finest contemporary artists — from Raza and Hussain to Ram Kumar and Tagore. As the auction is scheduled to take place in New Delhi next Friday, we bring you a sneak peek.

SH Raza – Untitled (Lot 53)

SH Raza – Untitled (Lot 53)

“We have adhered closely to our stringent standards,” says Maher Dadha, chairman and managing director, about their exhaustive selection process. “We have focussed on rare, ground-breaking works by progressive and modernist artists,” he explains, adding that the works include those from private collections, something they are venturing into for the first time. “We have works from the estates of Nandlal Bose (eminent Bengali artist) and Radha Devi Goenka (social activist and Maharashtrian freedom fighter who was known to be an avid collector), in addition to some from the private collections of Varsha and Dinesh Thacker (art enthusiasts and collectors),” shares Dadha.

 

Judith Fairbairn & Ian Felton

Judith Fairbairn & Ian Felton

Other works come from the collections of Hemendranath Mazumder (patronised artist by the Royals and native States of India) and His Highness Sir Udaychand Mahtab, the Maharaja of Burdwan Raj, in addition to special works like those gifted to Namrata Shirodkar and Mohammed Ali Baig by MF Hussain personally.

Going, gone

While Shirodkar’s pieces (a Mother Theresa and two horses) were given to her by Hussain during the filming of Gaja Gamini, the one given to Baig comes with a very special letter from the artist himself, where he describes the work as, “this piece of art is dedicated to the art itself”.

SH Raza – Untitled (Lot 53)

SH Raza – Untitled (Lot 53)

Another unique entry in this auction are the two works on Varanasi by Raza and Ram Kumar. “They are hugely significant because they come from two separate eras and styles of art and yet represent the same theme,” enthuses Dadha as he points to other artists from the famed Bengal School on offer, like Tagore, Mazumdar, Jamini Roy and Sailoz Mookerjea. Some of the country’s most highly valued Progressive artists round off the auction with names like Vasudeo Gaitonde, FN Souza and Tyeb Mehta touted to be highest sellers, apart from the Raza and Ram Kumar works mentioned.

The auction does not restrict itself solely to paintings and so includes stone sculptures, wooden panels and Indian miniature paintings like the intricate 8th century stone stele of Gautam Buddha.

The total value of the 86 lots on offer ranges from Rs. 18 to 25 crores.  7 pm. At The Imperial, New Delhi. Details: bidandhammer.com

—Susanna Chandy

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