London's 'India Week' hosts rare art from global collections

New Delhi: A painting by Tyeb Mehta from a Japanese museum collection, a set of rare Kalighat paintings dating pre-Independence and a large stained glass piece by F N Souza are among artworks set for auction in London soon.

Tyeb Mehta's painting

In a new initiative 'India Week', global auctioneers Sotheby's have brought together many artworks done by Indian modern and contemporary artists which includes quite a few pieces that have never been seen in public for over 50 years.    "We are holding three auctions in October of about 100 artworks beginning from 1500 to present time. Many works are coming to the market for the first time. It is a huge cross marketing platform to appeal to art collectors across the world," Yamini Mehta, international director for Indian and South Asian Art said.    The two-day event beginning October 7 with 'Modern and contemporary South Asian' auction followed by sale of 'Arts of Imperial' and the 'Arts of Islamic World' is estimated to raise a total of 10 million pounds.    The initiative, says Mehta is also a build up to Frieze, one of world's largest contemporary art fair that takes place annually in London and sees buyers including Indians, from all over the world visiting.    "We are selling some real treasures. It is very eclectic and had something for all tastes and pockets," says Edward Gibbs, chairman Middle East and India for Sotheby's.    Rare black and white photographs of historic monuments and important personalities in pre independent India that were commissioned for Lord Curzon feature in the 'Art of Imperial' sale.    ‘Blue Painting’ the oil on canvas painting by Tyeb Mehta in 1982 from the Glenbarra Art Museum in Japan has been estimated to fetch between Rs 5.97 crore to Rs 7.97 crore (600,000 to 800,000 pounds) in the modern and contemporary auction.    "The painting had visited India in a show in 1997 and it is now coming back here for the first time after that," says Priyanka Matthews, head of sales, Sotheby's who is slated to auctioneering at the India Week. A set of Kalighat paintings from the William and Mildred Archer collection is among those set to go under the hammer.    "William was one of the most prolific scholars of Indian art and this set of paintings was discovered by his son in an attic at his home in rural England and we brought them in. It is such a treasure and pleasure to have a group of Kalighat paintings," says Mehta.    Two works on paper by Rabindranath Tagore are from the same collection.    Among other highlights of the auction are works by M F Husain. "Some of his wooden toys are being brought from a French diplomat in Monaco," says Mehta.    An early work ‘Prophet’ by Akbar Padamsee has been sourced from an art collector in Brazil. From a Swiss collector comes a Krishen Khanna work.    "A large Benaras paper work by Ram Kumar, a beautiful early work by Satish Gujaral and one of the largest F N Souza depicting Goan landscape are some of the other works," says Mehta.
Early works by Jamini Roy, Mrilalini Mukherjee and Rameshwar Broota also figure in the sale that sees works by artists from India and Pakistan like Rashid Rana, Bharti Kher and Subodh Gupta.    Previews of select artworks are set to be held here and in New York and London prior to the sale, according to the auctioneers.

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