Gujarat to take centrestage at Sotheby’s India auction

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Gujarat to take centrestage at Sotheby’s India auction ‘Durga Mahisasur Mardini’ likely to fetch Rs 30 crore.

Sotheby’s will be holding its first auction in India — ‘Boundless: India’ — on November 29 in Mumbai, and the much-awaited event has a Gujarat connection.

The International auction house will auction acclaimed painter Tyeb Mehta’s ‘Durga Mahisasur Mardini’, a 1993 rare unseen seminal work which he had painted a year after the 1992 Mumbai riots. The artwork of Kapadvanj-born Tyeb Mehta is estimated to fetch Rs 20-30 crore. In 2005, Mehta’s “Mahishasura” was the first Indian painting to breach the $1 million barrier at a Christie’s auction in New York.

Not only Tyeb Mehta, another prominent architect from Ahmedabad, B V Doshi, will be sharing a part of his collection with Sotheby’s during the auction.

Doshi is the first Indian architect to receive the Pritzker Architecture Prize, considered the Nobel prize in the field of Indian architecture.

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“Apart from the seminal work of Tyeb Mehta, 10 pieces of B V Doshi will also be put up for auction at the Mumbai event. While most of these have been created with his own hands like drawings and furniture, some he has bought, lived and grown with in his house,” said Gaurav Bhatia, Managing Director, Sotheby’s India branch.

Sotheby’s also chose Ahmedabad as the first city to host an event on its ‘Boundless: India’ auction. The tour after covering other cities will culminate in Mumbai.

“Boundless for reason not just by expression of visual form, it is boundless, but also boundless in sense of multi-category, including paintings, sculptures, photography, video art, furniture. The whole idea is to showcase the sophistication of visual vocabulary of India since pre-independence to contemporary today, hoping that it captures the spirit of India,” said Bhatia while speaking on “The Building of a Legacy: Collections and Institutions” here on Tuesday.

The reason why Sotheby’s chose Gujarat is also because the world’s largest art business firm is eyeing the state as an important market.

“We are targetting new collectors as well as our seasoned collectors. We have noticed Indians in the last five years have spent over US$250 million in buying art from Sotheby’s alone, and in terms of bidders it has doubled in the last five years. A very good population of Gujarat is is among our top clients. Many of the large collectors are from Gujarat,” Bhatia said.

Speaking about Ahmedabad, Bhatia said that Sotheby’s is looking at young art connoisseurs. “Ahmedabad is very important city for us. We are hoping for a lot of clients from Ahmedabad. To continue the legacy of patronage their fathers and grandfathers have seen, to take that forward in buying art, collecting art, living with art and giving art, Ahmedabad has seen the patronage coming through in all these years.”

Appreciating a new trend of private museums, like Kasturbhai Lalbhai museum in Ahmedabad, being set up due to lack of public infrastructure in terms of museums, Bhatia said that as compared to China which has built over 300 museums in less than five years, India’s numbers are “staggeringly low”.

“You need museums like Kiran Nadar, initiatives like Lalbhai museum, you need people like Sanjay Reddy what he has done with the Mumbai airport,” he added.

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