Sotheby's - Sales of Indian Art - March 19, 2008 Sotheby’s spring sale of Indian Art in New York will be held on March 19,
2008, and will include important Modern paintings by M.F. Husain, J. Swaminathan, Rameshwar Broota, F. N. Souza & others
News-Antique.com - Feb 20,2008 - New York, New York – Sotheby’s spring sale of Indian Art in New York will be held on March 19,
2008, and will include important Modern paintings by M.F. Husain, J. Swaminathan, Rameshwar
Broota, F. N. Souza, S. H. Raza, Ganesha Pyne and Arpita Singh, among others. The offering of 89
lots, which is estimated to bring $4.8/6.8 million*, will be on public exhibition beginning March 13th.
The top lot of the sale, F.N. Souza’s Head of a Man (pictured on page 1, est. $280/380,000),
engages a format that the artist used repeatedly, that of a head and torso painted on a plain
background. Such a composition draws from religious iconography, a format adopted by
Renaissance artists such as Titian, whose work Souza would have seen first hand at the National
Gallery in London, where Souza arrived in 1949. However, although the influence of Byzantine
painting and the old masters are evident, the finished painting is completed in Souza’s own unique
style. Souza employs black outlines reminiscent of stained glass, adding to the covertly religious
sentiment of the painting.
Another highlight of the sale is an Untitled painting of a nude and horse by artist M.F. Husain( est.$200/300,000).
The horse has remained an enduring theme in Husain's works since the 1950s. The artist was fascinated by horses
since his childhood, and in ancient Indian mythology, these animals are a symbol of life force and
energy. The present painting depicts a faceless rider who attempts to mount a rearing stallion. The
interaction between the two, articulated in clashing diagonal planes, is intensely kinetic and both
figure and horse seem to be spinning in a vortex of energy. The application of color itself in
sweeping fluid strokes heightens the sense of movement and power. That Obscure Object of
Desire VI (est. $200/300,000), also by Husain, is part of a series which responds to a Buneul film of
the same title which is about a male character whose desire for a certain woman leads to entrapment.
The works share an epical and cinematic concern with the fate of conflict, questioning the nature of
personal identity and the self-destructive potential of desire itself.
Arpita Singh’s Amina Kidwai with her dead
husband (pictured here, est. $200/300,000) depicts
a man and a woman surrounded by everyday
objects such as plants, flowers and tea cups. Singh,
who began her career as a tapestry weaver, utilizes
the rhythms of repetition to form structure and
continuity within her painting. Her bright palette
seems almost at odds with the subject matter,
conveying the sense that these life stages, including
death, are natural states of affairs.
An Untitled work by S. H. Raza (pictured here, est. $100/150,000) from 1960 shows the artist’s
movement towards a less structured composition,
focused upon a visual language of form and color.
The potency of symbols and colors utilized by Raza
are central to the evolution of his work, which is
characterized by the crossbreeding of the modernity
of Europe and America with the spirituality of