AstaGuru’s ongoing online auction, titled Husain, is a curation of celebrated artist MF Husain’s work across paintings, toys, jewellery and tapestry. With 36 lots going under the hammer, the highlight is the 18.8-foot masterpiece, ‘Voices’, making its auction debut with an estimate of ₹17 to ₹20 crore.
Rakshanda Hussain, specialist at AstaGuru, says, “The auction is a tribute to one of India’s most eminent artists who helped shape the Modernism movement in the country. It is also the largest solo artist auction to be curated in India in relation to value and the medium diversity of its offering.”
About ‘Voices’, which is an oil on canvas created in 1958, she says that it is “amongst his top three works”. “This is his largest from the 1950s which makes it rare and sought after. It was highly lauded internationally and won him the International Biennale Award at the Tokyo Biennale in 1959, and later that year, receiving a Rockefeller Scholarship to study in New York, where he was exposed to the works of Abstract Expressionists,” she says.
Other important works on offer are a sketch of his famous painting ‘Between the Spider and the Lamp’, which is rare given the fact that Husain seldom prepared sketches. ‘Mother Teresa’ is another significant artwork. “Husain began depicting the visuals of ‘Mother Teresa’ in the year 1980. The artist yearned to fill the void of having lost his mother during his childhood,” says Hussain, adding, “Through this series he showcased the profound impact the saint had on his life and work.” Both are estimated at ₹75 to ₹85 lakh each.
His unusual work includes a gold lion pendant necklace, a set of three 22K gold plaques and a tapestry on Tussar silk. The total estimate of the auction, which is on today and tomorrow (August 29 and 30), is ₹40 crore.
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