T his sale of Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art is led by a pivotal masterwork by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde from 1959. Other highlights include two seminal works by the inimitable Bhupen Khakhar - a rare reverse painting on glass from 1978 and a poignant canvas from the very end of his career, titled Visitors. These are joined by important paintings by Maqbool Fida Husain, Ganesh Pyne, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Sayed Haider Raza, Ram Kumar and Prabhakar Barwe. Spanning South Asia across the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the collection of works in this sale is testament to the diverse and extraordinary corpus of art from this region.
V. S. Gaitonde, Painting III, 1959
1959, the year that Painting III was made, represents a landmark moment in the personal and professional life of Gaitonde. A series of seminal encounters and associations with important institutions, artists and new mediums, set him off on his enduring journey of experimentation and discovery. In this painting, oranges, blues and mauves coalesce with shades of grey, black and white to showcase the artist’s meticulous application of paint with roller and palette knife. By applying pigment in careful and controlled layers onto the surface, Gaitonde sought a deeper understanding of the medium and the effects that could be achieved with oil paint. His works truly accomplish metaphysical abstraction, with his earthly contemplations enduring in the brushstrokes he left behind. As a painting created in this monumental year, Painting III is historically and aesthetically critical in understanding Gaitonde’s life and work.
Art of the Bengal School
The Surya Collection: Property from Mrs. Ute Rettberg
Following the single-owner sale in May 2022 of the Surya Collection, Sotheby’s is honoured to be offering further works from this remarkable collection of Mrs. Ute Rettberg. Formed in 1973, in Freinsheim, Rettberg’s Surya Galerie was the first of its kind in Europe - selling up-and-coming contemporary Indian artists. Mrs. Rettberg played an important role in the expansion of the Indian art market abroad and herself acquired an astonishing personal collection of paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture, which she has lived with for almost fifty years. This season’s selection - from Madhubani to Neo Tantric art - form a time capsule of a unique period in modern Indian art and is a testament to the enduring legacy of Mrs. Ute Rettberg.