Art Eye on IN­DIA

Sotheby’s an­nounces its first auc­tion in In­dia towards the end of the year, sig­nalling that the In­dian art col­lec­tor is more im­por­tant than ever be­fore.


TYEB ME­HTA has been hot in art cir­cles for as far back as one can re­mem­ber, with his works fetch­ing record prices at auc­tions by both Christie’s and Sotheby’s in the past. His ob­ses­sion with Mahisas­ura, the myth­i­cal buf­falo de­mon is well known and now, for the first time, as Sotheby’s launches its In­dia auc­tion in De­cem­ber, an­other work with both god­dess Durga and Mahisas­ura in it is go­ing to lead the sale. Sotheby In­dia’s Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Gau­rav Bhatia speaks to In­dia To­day

Spice ahead of the sale.

Tell us more about the le­gacy of Tyeb Me­hta

The auc­tion will be led by the sem­i­nal work of Me­hta Un­ti­tled Durga Mahisas­ura

Mar­dini. This is a 1993 un­seen work as it was a pri­vately com­mis­sioned for a pri­vate col­lec­tor and is one of Me­hta’s most im­por­tant works. It por­trays Durga de­feat­ing Mahisas­ura and has all the right val­ues, hope, and show­cases tri­umph of good over evil. The colours used re­flect the In­dian tri­colour as well so we felt it was a fit­ting work to lead the In­dian auc­tion.

What was the thought be­hind launch­ing the In­dia auc­tions?

Sotheby’s has been com­mit­ted to In­dia since 2016 as the coun­try has a long his­tory of col­lect­ing and we are in­te­gral to it. In the last five years, across global sales, In­dian par­tic­i­pants have dou­bled and In­di­ans have spent over $250 mil­lion on South Asian art, fur­ni­ture, im­pres­sion­ist and modern art. The econ­omy is dy­namic, there are bi­en­nales tak­ing place, and pri­vate mu­se­ums are com­ing to the fore as well.

Has the art col­lec­tor evolved?

Our sale Bound­less: Mum­bai will give you an an­swer to that. The show is a vis­ual com­men­tary on South Asia. While we will in­clude sem­i­nal works, this is an op­por­tu­nity for young col­lec­tors to be ex­posed to mu­seum-qual­ity art and pho­tog­ra­phy and ex­pe­ri­ence an ar­ray of cat­e­gories that are new in In­dia.

OPEN­ING BID Sotheby In­dia’s Man­ag­ing DI­rec­tor Gau­rav Bhatia with Durga Mahisas­ura Mar­dini by Tyeb Me­hta which will open the In­dia auc­tion in De­cem­ber 2018

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