MY KOLKATA EDUGRAPH
ADVERTISEMENT
Regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Nirav Modi’s art collection goes under the hammer

On offer works by Amrita Sher-Gil, Husain, Gaitonde; a Rolls Royce and Patek Phillipe diamond watch

Smita Tripathi Published 04.03.20, 08:57 PM
M F Husain’s oil on canvas titled Battle of Ganga and Jamuna: Mahabharata 12 is a highlight of the sale

M F Husain’s oil on canvas titled Battle of Ganga and Jamuna: Mahabharata 12 is a highlight of the sale Saffronart

Other highlights include a serene blue painting by V S Gaitonde from 1972, estimated at anything between Rs 7 crore and Rs 9 crore ($1 million-1.28 million). There is also a depiction of Krishna by Manjit Bawa estimated to be in the range of Rs 3 crore to Rs 5 crore, ($428,575 - $714,290). Bawa depicts his protagonist leaning over a supine lion -- perhaps alluding to passages from the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna introduces himself as 'Hari' or lion, or to Krishna's transformation into the 'Narsimhadeva' avatar where he transforms into a form that is half man, half lion.

ADVERTISEMENT

There is also a stunning portrait by Raja Ravi Varma estimated to cost anything between Rs 2 crore and Rs 3 crore ($285,715 - $428,575).

Besides art, other highlights of the sale include the Rolls Royce Ghost, estimated at Rs 75 lakh - Rs 95 lakh ($107,145 - $135,715) and a Patek Phillipe ‘Nautilus’ gold and diamond wristwatch estimated at Rs 55 lakh - Rs 70 lakh ($78,575-$100,000), which is made of 18K yellow gold and embellished with pave-set diamonds across the dial, bezel and bracelet.

The sale will also feature several branded handbags, including the iconic Birkin and Kelly lines by luxury goods manufacturer Hermès. An Hermès Kelly Blue Atoll bag is estimated to cost anything between Rs 4 lakh and Rs 6 lakh ($5,715 - $ 8,575) and an Hermès Birkin 35 Alezan Togo leather bag is estimated to fetch anything between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 5 lakh ($4,290 - $7,145).

Besides Thursday’s live auction, another 80 lots, including handbags and wristwatches, were auctioned online by Saffronart. Bidding opened on Tuesday morning and closed on Wednesday night.

Fugitive businessman Nirav Modi, often referred to as the Cartier of India in his heydays, loved collecting expensive paintings, 15 of which will be going under the hammer on Thursday in Mumbai along with some of his other prized possessions, including a Rolls Royce Ghost and a Patek Phillipe diamond wristwatch.

The auction is being conducted -- initial bids are on -- by Saffronart and will feature 40 lots, which were seized from Modi by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). It is the first time a professional auction house has been appointed by ED to conduct an auction of seized assets in the country.

This appointment of Saffronart comes a year after a successful auction of seized paintings conducted by it on behalf of the income tax department in March 2019 that raised Rs 54.84 crore.

Leading the Nirav Modi assets sale is a 1935 masterpiece by one of the most important Indian artists of the 20th century, Amrita Sher-Gil. Titled Boys with Lemons, and estimated at anything between Rs 12 crore and Rs 18 crore ($1.7-2.57 million), the painting is appearing for auction for the first time. It was probably painted while Sher-Gil was back at her family home in Simla and represents a time when she was trying to carve out her own identity by exploring subjects deeply rooted in the Indian sentiment.

Another highlight of the sale is M F Husain’s oil on canvas titled Battle of Ganga and Jamuna: Mahabharata 12. Estimated at a similar price tag, the 1972 painting is an important work in this series and was once part of the famous Chester and Davida Herwitz collection. In 1982, it was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, UK. In 2008, it was sold in auction for $1.6 million, a world record price for the artist at the time.

Boys with lemons by Amrita Sher-Gil is appearing for auction for the first time

Boys with lemons by Amrita Sher-Gil is appearing for auction for the first time Saffronart

Follow us on:
ADVERTISEMENT