4 Mar 2008

Art market buoyant again

First, let’s have a look at the results of a couple of auctions held earlier this year. Remember Bid and Hammer, the new auction house in Bangalore? It created a lot of interest and in fact quite a stir in the city. Art connoisseurs were very excited at having this auction house in Bangalore.
Now, Bid and Hammer had their first auction of fine art and other works of art on January 24. The results are now finally up on their website and according to them 46 percent of the lots have been sold for Rs 2.78 crores. In contrast, Emami Chisel Art - a Kolkata based auction house that held a physical-cum-online bidding - brought the hammer down on February 23 and have sold 81 out of 89 lots from 70 artists. Plus, M F Husain’s ‘Tribute to Hashmi’ created a record for being the first Husain to cross the $1 million mark at an auction. The other highlights of the evening were Tyeb Mehta’s ‘Kali III’, which fetched Rs. 4.4 crores, and J Swaminathan’s ‘Bird & Mountain’, which fetched almost Rs 2 crores.
The sales touched a total of Rs 24 crores. That is a good sign. It means there is a lot of interest in Indian modern and contemporary art and the market might well be on its way to recovery.

KG Subramanyan
One of the shows that I visited last week and simply had to talk about was noted artist K G Subramanyan’s. Titled ‘The magic of making’, the exhibition had a phenomenal number of works - 120 on canvas and paper, and in various sizes - no mean feat by any standards. For those who are not familiar with his name, he is a multi-faceted personality, and has donned the role of a painter, art educationist, sculptor, writer, art historian and more with aplomb. Born in 1924, Subramanyan studied at Shantiniketan and went on to teach painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Baroda.
His art is rooted in the cultural milieu of Shantiniketan and is inspired by Indian crafts, myths and folk traditions. Based on simple everyday events and people, his visual language forms a powerful medium that follows no rules. One of the major artists on the contemporary art scene today, the exhibition is a must watch for all art lovers. However, do be aware that on the day of the preview itself, more than 100 paintings were already sold (this incidentally is a traveling show).

(The exhibition is on till March 8 at Gallery Sumukha, 24/10 BTS Depot Road, Wilson Garden, Bangalore 27. Phone: 22292230)

(Published in Bangalore Mirror)

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