Auction Alert: $7mn Indian Art Collection Goes on Sale at Sotheby’s
Husain's Puppet Dancers
The couple that starred in one of the biggest melodramas of the otherwise dull world of art auctions will be part of the first evening sale of Indian art by Sotheby's in 12 years.
Amrita Jhaveri - married to former Christie's MD Christopher Davidge - is auctioning her collection of 43 paintings that include key artists such as MF Husain, Tyeb Mehta, Francis Newton Souza and Syed Haider Raza in New York this March, estimated at a bidding price of around $7 million (around Rs 38.5 crore).
In 1999, Davidge, then a 55-year-old managing director at rival auction house Christie's, had blown the lid off a price fixing scandal by his former employers, and walked away with a $7-million severance package.
Jhaveri was interning at the London auction house during this period. Born to rich Gujarati parents in Mumbai's Malabar Hills, she was the first Indian employee at the over 200-year-old Christie's, where Davidge, the son of a clerk who worked his way up to the top. The two, whose romance began in the Christie's office, married a year later.
Jhaveri, who runs an art gallery in Mumbai, says that after she left Christie's, she got involved in helping collect and buy artists who are known to her - artists of her own generation and younger ones. Apart from the Husains, Mehtas and Razas, she has also acquired Bharti Kher, Subodh Gupta, Ravinder Reddy and Jatish Kalat.
Yamini Mehta, international director of Indian and South-east Asian art at Sotheby's, who's marketing the auction in India, said the paintings going under the hammer were acquired over 20 years.
"Her father and mother were also collectors and knew various artists. But I believe that these are her works. She may have acquired a few before, but most of them were acquired afterwards (that is, after her stint at Christie's)," said Mehta. The Amaya collection, which goes under the hammer on March 19, will be led by an untitled 1982 Tyeb Mehta painting which has an estimated price of $800,000 to $1.2 million.
The painting was formerly in the collection of Chester and Davida Herwitz and was purchased from Sotheby's in 2000, the last auction of single-owner Indian art collection. The collection also includes Rajasthan I (estimated price $600,000/800,000), a work by Syed Haider Raza from the 1980s, which brings together his influences from France and India to represent an ultimate depiction of nature. In addition, there are a few Husain paintings including The Puppet Dancers (1963) and an untitled 1962 painting by Vasudeo S Gaitonde.
The auction of 43 lots is estimated at approximately $5-7 million, and works will be exhibited in New Delhi, London and New York in advance of the sale. Proceeds from the sale will underwrite a project space and lecture room at Khoj International Artists' Association in New Delhi.
Mehta feels this is a good time to buy because "the frothiness of the market in existence about 5-6 years ago means that right now you have a market - that is what you see is what you get". Despite its progress in recent years, Indian art is yet to match the popularity of Chinese art in the global market.
Source: Economic Times