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May 18, 2024

Gaitonde estimated at ₹30 crore to go on auction  

Ruhi Gilder 
Masanori Fukuoka, considered one of the most discerning collectors of Indian contemporary art is set to auction a part of his collection at Mumbai-based auction house Pundole’s. 159 lots, including works by artists like V.S. Gaitonde, M.F. Husain, Arpita Shah, Krishen Khanna, Ram Kumar and Akbar Padamsee will be auctioned over two days, February 24 and 25. The title, ‘Glenbarra: A Lasting Legacy,’ pays homage to Fukuoka’s Glenbarra Art Museum in Himeji, Japan. Fukuoka, born in 1953 in Japan was influenced by Hermann Hesse’s novel, Siddhartha, Tagore’s Gitanjali, hence made his first visit to India in 1975, where his love affair with Indian art began. An ardent admirer of artists such as Tyeb Mehta, Jogen Chowdhury and Nasreen Mohamedi, the Japanese businessman grew his collection and established his art museum with the aim of acquainting Japanese art aficionados with seminal works of Indian art. In 1991, the Glenbarra Art Museum opened with masterpieces by sixty Indian artists of the 20th century. Over the years, Fukuoka pared down his collection on display to showcase the artworks of approximately ten artists.  
Photo Courtesy: Pundole's
Photo Courtesy: Pundole’s
This auction then, is the amalgamation of works that Fukuoka has accumulated over the course of his 30 years of listening to his intuition and emotions, selecting a work not for its nominal value but for the emotional response it provokes. For those who want to own a piece of India’s cultural history, Tyeb Mehta’s bull sculpture, Vasudev S. Gaitonde’s Untitled oil-on-canvas is set to go under the hammer for an estimated ₹2- ₹3 crore and ₹30- ₹50 crore respectively. Read on to know more about the highlights of ‘Glenbarra: A Lasting Legacy,’ 
V. S. Gaitonde 
Photo Courtesy: Pundole's
Photo Courtesy: Pundole’s
This 70 × 50 inch ‘Untitled’ 1969 oil on canvas is by far the highest valued lot on auction, estimated at ₹ 30,00,00,000 – 50,00,00,000. Said Fukuoka of his works, ‘They are separate and self-sufficient, and yet a part of me. When you look at a Gaitonde painting, it talks to you.’ Often described as quiet or calming, Gaitonde’s works are almost a mesmerising experience. According to Fukuoka, they harmoniously adapt to spaces, and he finds something new every time he looks at the canvas.  
Tyeb Mehta  
Photo Courtesy: Pundole's
Photo Courtesy: Pundole’s
Three works of Tyeb Mehta are on auction, the first being a ‘Bull’ sculpture, part of a bronze limited-edition set of six sculptures. The one currently for sale is edition 5/6, and is estimated at ₹ 2,00,00,000 – 3,00,00,000. A Tyeb Mehta charcoal on paper 1999 untitled sketch is also up for auction at an estimated ₹ 20,00,000 – 30,00,000. Mahishasura (1995), an acrylic on canvas painting that Ranjit Hoskote, a poet, curator and cultural theorist, has mentioned in his book Tyeb Mehta Ideas Images Exchanges as, “The figures of the goddess and the buffalo-demon, locked in combat, enact a sacrificial rite of fertility that has its origins in the remote past of agrarian society.” The goddess symbolises the life force of fertility, while the other is a symbol of the earth.  
Maqbool Fida Husain 
Photo Courtesy: Pundole's
Photo Courtesy: Pundole’s
Glenbarra: A Lasting Legacy, has many works by legendary artist M.F. Husain, however his Umber Blue Nudes is one of the most notable in the catalogue. Husain, inspired by classical Indian art from the from the Rajput and Pahari courts created this painting, where modernism combines with classical aesthetics. The figures of the females painted draw from classical dance, and rest in a graceful tribhanga or three-bend pose. This 1960s oil painting is estimated between ₹ 1,00,00,000– 2,00,00,000.  
Jagdish Swaminathan 
Photo Courtesy: Pundole's
Photo Courtesy: Pundole’s
Swaminathan’s relationship with tribal art and life during his stay in Madhya Pradesh has inspired this painting. As the Director of the Roopankar Museum at Bharat Bhavan, Bhopal, the artist encountered various artisans who shaped his work. The Altar (1988) was created towards the end of his tenure at the museum and absorbs imagery from tribal sources. Abstract shapes, geometric triangles intersecting with squares, the sun, nagas, calligraphic graffiti, and highly textured surfaces, are central elements in the artwork. Symbols of Tantric thought, folklore, legends, and some from Swaminathan’s imagination are part of this painting that is estimated at ₹ 6,00,00,000 – 8,00,00,000.  
Akbar Padamsee 
Photo Courtesy: Pundole's
Photo Courtesy: Pundole’s
Painted by Akbar Padamsee in 1971, this canvas is estimated at ₹ 1,50,00,000 – 2,50,00,000. Though named Metascape, there are diverging views about whether this is part of Padamsee’s famed Metascape series, as it does not include the idealised elements that Chowdhury spoke about in the years post 1974. The dark palette of the current work is rich in pigments, and are built from the surface of the canvas, then modelled by knife or brush. Despite this debate over its name, it is clear that the landscapes painted from ‘69 to the early 70s are forerunners to the Metascapes that definitively appeared in 1974. 
Arpita Singh 
Photo Courtesy: Pundole's
Photo Courtesy: Pundole’s
Artist Arpita Singh’s works follow a distinct visual aesthetic, mixing myth with reality and history with fantasy. My Lily Pond sees the contrast of blue water and pink waterlilies with the macabre imagery of drowning men with bloody torsos, whose arms reach out to safety. The word ‘WATER’ is repeated through 2/3 of the canvas, while the extreme right has two yellow land masses identified as Guantanamo Bay. Painted in 2009, a couple of year after the atrocities in the prison came to light, it is one of Singh’s works that reflects on social injustices and events of the time. However, the strokes are not obvious in their political commentary, instead paint a picture of complexity, metaphors and symbolism that requires further decoding. This 84 × 108-inch oil on canvas painting is to go under the hammer for ₹ 3,00,00,000 – 5,00,00,000.  
Jogen Chowdhury  
Photo Courtesy: Pundole's
Photo Courtesy: Pundole’s
Painted by the eminent artist in 1995, The Blue Sari is a study in bright colours that are juxtaposed against each other for maximum visual impact. Chowdhury’s body of work often explores the complexity of human relationships, and this current work portrays a man and woman, analysing their sexual dynamic. A red background shows a dominant female figure looking away from her partner who crouches in the corner. The leaping tiger then could signify the woman’s private thoughts or fantasies; however, Chowdhury leaves its interpretation to the viewer. The Blue Sari is estimated at ₹ 2,00,00,000 – 3,00,00,000.  
The total auction estimate is ₹65.9 crore – ₹107.05 crore.  

Ruhi Gilder

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