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