Husain highlights an ostentation of art & jewellery in auction sale
F. M. Soofi’s ‘White Peacocks’
New Delhi (India), March 15: The latest auction by Bid & Hammer is a unique amalgamation of jewellery and art inspired by Peacock leitmotifs. A divine epitome of confidence, beauty and renewal, the Peacock originated from the Indian sub-continent, has been an integral part of our centuries old folklore and has been abundantly used in all sorts of artistic creations across genres from ancient times to this day, however, it is being presented in a standalone auction perhaps for the first time. Appropriately lead by an artwork of Maqbool Fida Husain, one of the greatest Modern Indian artists, the catalogue is supported by Bengal School great Jamini Roy and well respected artists Devaki Nandan Sharma & Fakir Mohammed Soofi. The latter two being ‘Bird Specialists’.
The muster of ‘white peacocks’ that signify spirituality, inner-light, rebirth and even nirvana, is not only an ode to the peacock but also to a rather under-appreciated stalwart of Indian art – F M Soofi – who excelled in bird, flaura & fauna and animal compositions apart from inlay work. An alumnus of the art schools at Mysuru and Mumbai, Soofi was a recipient of the Lalitkala Academy award in 1982 and the state Rajyotsava award in 1984. This oil on board, with a width of four-feet is a typical composition by this master artist from Karnataka whose paintings are hard to come by and that too at an auction.
It has become a kind of a pattern for Bid & Hammer’s auctions to be lead by M F Husain, as last years ‘Auction of the Week’ also had an iconic painting by the artist from the famed ‘Theorama’ series titled ‘Islam’, the No-Reserve & Silent Bid auctions the year prior to it had Horses and the ‘Traditional, Modern and Contemporary Indian Art’ auction preceding that also had a 1970’s Husain canvas as the highlight, as did its Significant Indian Art auction that had white horses against a saffron background – a masterpiece. Not to forget, Husain’s 1972 watercolour of Shiva had topped the debut sale of the auction house. In effect rendering the artist foundations claims a farce and mere rhetoric. Coming back to the Husain in the current auction, the website describes the painting as unique and “a motif of rural Rajasthan, with two Peacocks and a woman in the courtyard …..….. the colours embodying the landscape of the region where he travelled extensively in the 1960s”. The estimate on it is Rs 35 – 50 lakhs.
Another highlight in the paintings section is the Peacock by Jamini Roy, one of the “Nine Gems of Indian Art”. The silk on cloth by the late Prof. Devaki Nandan Sharma of the Banasthali Vidyapith, Jaipur has the Indian blue Peacock – peahens and peafowls – in an ostentation of five and is estimated at Rs 40,000 – 70,0000. The rest of the collection includes a Peacock feather pattern bowl by Austrian glass-maker Loetz, handcrafted silver jewellery from Rajasthan, pearls and metal encased Victorian style pendant from one of the Nizam of Hyderabad’s nobles from the 1930s and a seventeen-feet long miniature scroll dated 1782 AD depicting Queen Trishala’s Dreams, before the birth of the last Jain tirthankar Mahavir. On the choice of this subject for the auction, Ankush Dadha, Director of Bid & Hammer, said “In the past also, the Peacock has featured prominently in our auctions and have done well, so this is kind of an extension of the popular subject by way of a specialist thematic sale”.
The bidding will be conducted online on 28th March 2023 (from 3:00-6:00pm IST) and registration is a must. A refundable earnest deposit amount has to be paid by first time participants. The details can be found at https://www.bidandhammer.com/
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