Online auctions to explore the metamorphosis of Indian art

Online auction house AstaGuru will hold two stellar auctions – ‘Modern Treasures’ and ‘Present Future’ – which perfectly chronicle the dynamic heritage as well as current trends in Indian art.

The finely curated selection of avant-garde works comes from the work of several prominent artists. The auctions will offer collectors a chance to add previously unseen and rare works by famous Indian modern masters and leading contemporary artists to their art collection.

They will showcase an exquisite selection of over 120 works including paintings, drawings, sculptures and installations of the works of iconic figures who have reshaped the narratives of Indian art.


‘Diagonal’ by Tyeb Mehta, 69×59 oil on canvas, 1973

Bearing in mind the influx of important works into the ever-expanding Indian art market, the selected pieces reflect important phases of the artist’s career in modern Indian art and the ever-changing vocabulary of contemporary art.

The “Modern Treasures” auction will feature a range of exemplary artworks by iconic figures of modern Indian art such as MV Dhurandhar, Tyeb Mehta, MF Husain, FN Souza, KH Ara, Jehangir Sabavala, Ganesh

Pyne, Jogen Chowdhury and Bikash Bhattacharjee to name a few. Several of these works appear for the first time in an auction.

'Partition 1947' by Jogen Chowdhury, 40x86 in watercolour, pastel, pen, colored pencil and mixed media on paper, 2017Agencies

‘Partition 1947’ by Jogen Chowdhury, 40×86 in watercolour, pastel, pen, colored pencil and mixed media on paper, 2017

A six-foot oil on canvas by artist Tyeb Mehta will appear at auction for the first time. Part of his ‘Diagonal’ series, the 1973 work was created during the phase in which the diagonal was no longer a new element. It had transformed to become the main pillar of the artist’s ideation process. The pattern and its use were a matter of familiarity and Mehta had deciphered its visual properties. It will be offered at an estimate of Rs 21-Rs 26 crore.

A 100-year-old painting by MV Dhurandhar, whose artistic genius lies in the fusion of Western academic realism and Indian tradition, is also being presented for the first time at auction.

'Untitled' by MV Dhurandhar, 38X26 oil on canvas, 1922Agencies

‘Untitled’ by MV Dhurandhar, 38X26 oil on canvas, 1922

Executed in 1922, the untitled oil on canvas painting captures a critical moment in the Mahabharata – the vastraharan of Draupadi at the hands of Kaurava’s brother, Dushasana. The work appeared in the publication “MV Dhurandhar – The Romantic Realist” by the National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, in 2018.

Executed on the same day as revered playwright Safdar Hashmi died in 1989, the painting titled “Safdar Hashmi” by MF Husain recounts how deeply affected he was by the murder. Considered one of his most significant works, this artwork, which spans over 10 feet, is a testament to his fearless and boundless artistic approach to portraying the injustices of society. It was also the first modern Indian art painting to land a record bid of Rs 10 lakh in
India time auction on INS Jawahar in 1989.

'Landscape With Flowers & Nude' (Diptych) by Akbar Padamsee, 47x48 oil on canvas, 1965Agencies

‘Landscape With Flowers & Nude’ (Diptych) by Akbar Padamsee, 47×48 oil on canvas, 1965

A superb diptych by Akbar Padamsee entitled “Paysage Aux Fleurs & Nu” dated 1965, will also be auctioned. The characterless landscape evokes a sense of silence and desolation. The right panel of the work depicts a solitary nude female figure, a subject that remained a fascination for the artist throughout his career.

Jogen Chowdhury’s large-scale cross-hatched work titled “Partition 1947” will also go under the hammer for the first time. Emerging from his sense of loss and agony, his artistic practice became a way for him to comment on the ongoing violence in the world and also that of pain as an innate and inevitable part of human suffering.

'Surya - Sun Chariot' by KK Hebbar, 98x173x2 in iron sculpture, 1968Agencies

‘Surya – Sun Chariot’ by KK Hebbar, 98x173x2 in iron sculpture, 1968

Artist KK Hebbar, world famous for his expressive line drawings, saw an impressive metamorphosis with the sculpture ‘Surya – Sun Chariot’ created in 1968. The rare sculpture, quite possibly his only one, reinterprets his line drawings in a form sculptural with great fluidity. In the artwork that spans over 14 feet, he paints an enduring image of mythology and folklore – an inspiration to the artist.

Take center stage
The contemporary art auction titled “Present Future” will feature an eclectic assortment of 81 works by notable contemporary artists such as Anish Kapoor, Thukral & Tagra, Surendran Nair, Raqib Shaw, Debanjan Roy and Nataraj Sharma, among others.

'Untitled' by Anish Kapoor, 62.5x7.5 in lacquer and stainless steel, 2011Agencies

‘Untitled’ by Anish Kapoor, 62.5×7.5 in lacquer and stainless steel, 2011

Topping the list is a work from British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor’s remarkable series of reflective stainless steel discs, which he has been creating since the 1990s.

The pieces in this series attempt to create a seamless, distorted view of what they reflect based on their finishes. Created in 2011, this coin spans over five feet in diameter and will be offered at an estimate of Rs 5.50-Rs 7.50 crore.

'Safdar Hashmi' by MF Husain, a 65.7x125.8 in acrylic on canvas, 1989Agencies

‘Safdar Hashmi’ by MF Husain, a 65.7×125.8 in acrylic on canvas, 1989

Another stunning work to look forward to is Nataraj Sharma’s “Swimmers Manual” – a nine-foot oil on canvas executed in 2018.

Sharma’s art offers an incisive commentary on the complex relationship between humans, landscapes and urbanization. Executed with a unique visual code that adds new connotations to already familiar imagery, these large-scale works are dramatic and provocative. ‘Present Future’ will take place on September 22-23 and ‘Modern Treasures’ is scheduled for September 25-26.