Saturday, March 16, 2013

Works by 20th Century Modernist Masters on offer

We take a quick look at the works on offer as part of the sale from Sotheby's, involving fine examples from the rich oeuvres of top artists, including very highly sought-after works of art by several 20th Century Modernist Masters such as Maqbool Fida Husain, Francis Newton Souza, Tyeb Mehta, Sayed Haider Raza, Vasudeo Gaitonde etc.

The sale is led by Tyeb Mehta’s Untitled (est. $800/1.2 million, right) from 1982, produced during an important period in the artist’s career. Painted three years before the famous Santiniketan Triptych, the current work possesses a number of key parallels. In both works he used an unusually muted palette, and the androgynous figures are placed against a distinctive pastel blue ground.

Mehta spent the early 1960s in London where he was exposed to the style of Francis Bacon, which greatly influenced his early works. He was a recipient of the Rockefeller scholarship in 1968, which took him to New York where he was influenced by the work of American abstract painter Barnett Newman. This painting was formerly in the important collection of Chester and Davida Herwitz and was purchased from Sotheby’s in 2000.

A further highlight is ‘Rajasthan I’ (est. $600/800,000, top of page 1), a resplendent work by Sayed Haider Raza from the 1980s which brings together his influences from France and India to represent an ultimate depiction of nature. This painting is from a period that represents his transgression towards total abstraction and is influenced by the Indian miniature tradition not just in composition but also in palette. The flaming colors which pulsate across the canvas depict the rhythms of nature. Rajasthan I was exhibited at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D. C. in 1986.

The 1962 painting, Untitled (est. $600/800,000, left) by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, one of India’s most important modern abstract painters, was one of few canvases produced during his lifetime. His work was greatly influenced by the color techniques of Indian miniatures, the study of ancient scripts and Japanese Zen philosophy. Similar to Mehta, Gaitonde was awarded a Rockefeller scholarship, and while in New York in 1964, he was exposed to Abstract Expressionists like Rothko, whose work had a profound effect on him. 
(Information courtesy: Sotheby's)

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