Under the hammer

by Shilpa Raina
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In the ‘Untitled’ (A Brahmin Household), artist Horace Van Ruith depicts a Brahmin household in casual repose within their own dwelling.  Using the courtyard to add tranquillity to the setting, Horace brilliantly captures the character of each family member within the rustic décor of the space. Acquired from Florida-based private collector, this work belongs to the late 18th century, and will now go under the hammer on March 14 at Sotheby’s New York sale of Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art in New York.
Horace Van Ruith - Untitled (A Brahmin Household) hammer1
The reproduction of this painting, along with 15 others were recently brought to the city to give art connoisseurs a glimpse into what the sale that includes works by Raja Ravi Varma, Maqbool Fida Husain and Francis Newton Souza, has to offer.
The forthcoming sale will feature works which for decades have been housed in prestigious private collections, including paintings by artists rarely seen on the international market. A painting by celebrated master portraitist Raja Ravi Varma, and works by Jehangir Sabavala, whose popularity continues to soar and whose works have secured record-breaking prices in recent years, will be among the highlights.MF Husain - Untitled (Four Women) hammer2
The sale also boasts works of extraordinary provenance, including a group consigned from an important Swiss collection, acquired from the outstanding Herwitz sales held at Sotheby’s in 1996 and 1997, coming to the market for the first time in over two decades. Chester and Davida Herwitz, who were pre-eminent collectors of Indian art, were responsible for bringing international attention to Indian Modern and Contemporary art, with their collection of more than 3,000 paintings and drawings being exhibited in world-class institutions through the 1970s and 1980s.
“The sale offers high quality works at a range of price points, and we hope that the sale will attract both seasoned collectors of South Asian art and those newer to collecting,” says Yamini Mehta, International Head of South Asian.
Sabavala hammer3
According to Anu Ghosh-Mazumdar, Head of Department, Indian and Southeast Asian Art, the auction is characterised by “its freshness and museum-quality lots”.
“We are honoured to be entrusted with outstanding works from well-established collections across Europe and North America in both our upcoming auctions,” she says.
satish hammer4
A total of 58 lots are up for sale, and it also includes works by contemporary artists like Bharti Kher, Avinash Chandra and Zarina.

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