Showing posts with label Raja Ravi Varma. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Raja Ravi Varma. Show all posts

11 Mar 2020

Interview: Indian Art Market Has Potential

"Many important artists have long been overlooked, and are waiting to be properly recognised for their contribution to art history. We need to continue to further the global conversation around Indian art, ensuring that their work is measured and considered against the work of international artists, not only in a South Asian context," elaborates Manjari Sihare-Sutin, Head of Sale, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, New York in an exclusive e-mail interaction with Art Scene India

N10333, Lot 12, Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, Untitled, Art Scene India
Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, Untitled

Sotheby's upcoming annual auction on 16th March in New York, commemorates the 25th anniversary of Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art sales at Sotheby's. It will feature a selection of rare, never-before-seen works, with 95% of works emerging from private collections. 

Led by two 1960s paintings by pioneer Indian abstractionists Nasreen Mohamedi and Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, the auction also features an important work by Indian National Treasure artist Raja Ravi Varma; a selection of sculptures led by modernist works by Amarnath Sehgal and Adi Davierwalla; a curated selection on Neo-Tantra. including works by Biren De, G. R. Santosh and more; and a diverse selection of works from the Bengal School of Art as well as Modern and Contemporary art from Pakistan.

NM: How has last year been for Sotheby's in terms of modern and contemporary Indian art sales?

MSS: We are feeling optimistic. We are adding new clients into our fold, coming from India, the US, China, and more. We are also witnessing new artist records set in each sale.

Look closely at the results of our recent sale in Mumbai, and you’ll see that the sell-through rate was strong (and even a little higher than in our inaugural sale in 2018), and we saw a real depth of bidding; almost 60% of lots sold for prices over their high estimates.

Our sales in the summer in London last year saw particularly pleasing results of over £7.5 million - the highest sale total achieved for a sale of Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art at Sotheby’s London in a decade. The auction was led by Bhupen Khakhar’s landmark Two Men in Benares (1982) which established a new record for the artist at £2.54 million / $3.2 million (£450,000-600,000), more than doubling the previous auction record. There’s continued vitality in the market, and a promising future.

10333, Lot 48, Sayed Haider Raza, Prairie, Art Scene India
Sayed Haider Raza, Prairie,
NM: Given the economic conditions, what are your strategies to strengthen sales? And your future plans in India?

MSS: The Indian diaspora comprises one of the largest and geographically diverse populations, because of this geographical spread, there is an inherent stability in the Indian market which metaphorically we liken to a four legged stool with one leg in India and others in North America, Europe and Asia. It means that the market is not beholden to the economies or politics of one particular region in order to thrive.

When we are building our auctions, we look to source fresh to the market works which will to appeal to a wide range of collectors at all price points. For instance, our next sale in New York features a spectacular array of works with storied provenances - most fresh to the market or unseen for at least a generation. 95% of the sale is sourced from private collections. This is an opportunity for collectors to discover hidden gems - artworks which have never exhibited anywhere before but are being unveiled by Sotheby’s for the first time. The array of works have been selected to appeal to collectors of every stripe, with each work carefully chosen from the diverse corpus of South Asian Art created in the Twentieth Century. Estimates range from just $500 to $1,000,000.

Sotheby’s holds three dedicated sales of South Asian Art across the world each year, and special one-off auctions for exceptional single-owner collections, such as The Guy and Helen Barbier Family Collection which we offered in London in June and online sales such as the one in September last year.
N10333, Lot 31, Raja Ravi Varma, Untitled (Swami Vishwamitra in Meditation), Art Scene India
 Raja Ravi Varma, Untitled (Swami Vishwamitra in Meditation)
NM: Could you comment on the huge disparity in art prices of Indian and Western artists, what could be or needs to be done to narrow the gap?

MSS: There is still so much potential for the Indian art market. It is a relatively new Market - just 25 years old. Many important artists have long been overlooked, and are waiting to be properly recognised for their contribution to art history. We need to continue to further the global conversation around Indian art, ensuring that their work is measured and considered against the work of international artists, not only in a South Asian context.

All images courtesy Sotheby's

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15 Oct 2014

Raja Ravi Varma’s Oleographs: Glimpses from the Past

Raja Ravi Varma's oleographs offer insights into a significant cultural phase of the late 19th century India

An exhibition of rare oleographs by Raja Ravi Varma opens tomorrow (Oct 16) in Bangalore. Titled Emotions; Relations; Reflections, these select oleographs from the Ravi Varma Press belong to the private collection of Sachin Kaluskar from Vadodara.

The exhibition has also been curated by Sachin who has adopted a thematic approach in categorising them. Sachin started collecting oleographs purely by chance when a print of ‘Saraswati’ turned out to bear a mark from the Ravi Varma press. His curiosity piqued, Sachin researched on Ravi Varma’s oleographs and was fascinated by what he read. He then went on to collect these prints from friends, royal families in Saurashtra and even temples. He has now been collecting oleographs for the last eight years and has amassed a large collection, parts of which he has exhibited in various places.

According to Sachin, Ravi Varma’s paintings depict multiple emotions such as devotion, love, pain, anguish, innocence and power, amongst others. This exhibition of oleographs too portrays gods and goddesses in a human form, and are depicted experiencing myriad emotions - in effect every oleograph has a unique story to narrate.
Ravi Varma (1848 –1906) born in Kilimanoor, present day Kerala was a prolific painter who depicted scenes from the epics and mythology, and also painted portraits of royal families. He was the first Indian artist to depict cultural themes through European painting techniques and was also one of the first artists to use oil as a medium of painting. His paintings of gods and goddesses and vignettes from mythological tales are well recognized and reproduced even today.

Ravi Varma’s oleographs also called chromolithographs were instrumental in taking art to the masses. Oleography (oleo means oil) in essence is a process of reproducing an oil painting on paper to match the exact colours and brushstrokes with the objective of making it look like an oil painting. The technique was pioneered in the 1830s by an Englishman George Boxter but came into wide commercial use only in the 1860s. Oleography was the most popular method of colour reproduction until the end of the 19th century, when more efficient techniques rendered it obsolete.

It is believed that Ravi Varma started the lithographic printing press on the advice of Dewan Madav Rao in Mumbai in 1894 and it was managed by his brother, Raja Varma. The printing press was procured from Germany and the technicians to operate the press were also from Europe. The oleographs were mostly of Hindu dieties and depict scenes from the Mahabharata, Ramayana and the Puranas. The oleographs were very popular and continued to be printed even after Ravi Varma's death in 1906*.

136 oleographs will be presented in this exhibition and a few of them show the effects of ageing on them, which is no surprise given that they are almost 100 years old. Damyanti, Maneka and Vishvamitra, Nal Damyanti Vanvas and Radha Vilas are some of the prints which will be on display here.

The exhibition is on view at Phoenix Market City from October 16-22, 2014.


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