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Modern and contemporary Indian art has become a major focus in the international art scene. Similarly to contemporary Chinese art, Indian art has gone from success to success, beating record prices time and again in India, but also in London, Paris, and New York.

In 2006, a painting by Sayed Haider Raza, born in India in 1922 and living in France since the 1950’s, was one of the first in the history of Indian modern art to exceed the symbolic threshold of one million dollars. A monumental sculpture by Subodh Gupta, a new star in the Indian contemporary art firmament, is now enthroned before the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, inviting tourists to discover the collection of the French billionaire François Pinault.

After having organized the very successful first sales of contemporary Chinese art, Artcurial, number one in the sale of modern and contemporary art in France, will hold the first auction in France dedicated to modern and contemporary Indian art on Monday 3 December 2007.

The sale is part of Artcurial's strategic interest in Asian art and inaugurates a department devoted to modern and contemporary Indian art. This first sale is meant to be both modest and ambitious – modest for its commitment to a representative choice of still affordable works, and ambitious for its determination to present major works that are both rare and exceptional.

Farhad Hussain, no title 2006, acrylic on canvas, 72x84 in, 183x214 cm, 18 000 € - 22 000 €

Art lovers and professionals will have the opportunity to discover work by young artists who have just had their very first solo exhibition in both prestigious and experimental galleries from Mumbai to New Delhi, such as Farhad Hussain.
Farhad Hussain, born in Calcutta in 1975, is among those young artists who have been contributing with panache to the current renewal of contemporary Indian art. One of his works was recently published on the cover of Asian Art News (the Sept./Oct. 2007 issue), one of the two most influential magazines that cover contemporary art in Asia – a market that ranges from India to China, from Singapore to Hong Kong. Paintings by Farhad Hussain have the direct, fresh gaiety of a Matisse cutout, and the nuclear family his iconographic focus. These paintings could be family photos taken by a Walt Disney in the throes of a psychedelic episode. The illusion of happiness is omnipresent, the ecstatic atmosphere redolent of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” family-style.

Anita Dube, Sea Creature, edition of 10, 26,4x19,7 in, 67x50 cm, 3 000 € - 3 500 €

Atul Dodiya, Sabari Streching, 2007, water color on paper, 30x22 in, 76,2x55,9 cm, 32 000 € - 32 500 €

The work of artists born in the 50’s and 60’s will also be represented, such as the emblematic and spectacular photography by Anita Dube that offers ceramic eyes – the same eyes used to give life to innumerable sculptures of Indian divinities.
The artistic maturity of this generation of artists will also be represented by a superb, enigmatic watercolor on paper by Atul Dodiya, another major figure in contemporary Indian art. Dodiya’s watercolor combines the perfection of two apparently opposed qualities – fluidity and precision. His work reminds us that the watercolor medium, a cultural heritage from England but also influenced by the Chinese and Japanese traditions, has become a significant part of Indian art that constantly evolves both in terms of pictorial innovation and a widening range of themes that include all conceivable subjects, including the political. Thus, modernity and tradition combine to give birth to a shared achievement.

Photography also plays an important part in this catalogue. For several years the Indian photography market has been evolving, encouraged by the international art market's feverish enthusiasm for the medium. Some investors and collectors have turned to photography, more affordable than painting, sculpture, and installations, even for works by a master such as Raghu Rai. They see an opportunity to support an art that is by nature more realistic and thus more accessible. Collectors say that the medium appears to be developing an increasingly introspective mood, presenting a chronicle of the contradictions and changes of modern India.

Finally, the sale will be an opportunity to discover exceptional works executed by some of the most respected “Masters”, such as Jagdish Swaminathan, Prabhakar Barwe, Jogen Chowdhury, Viswanadhan, Francis Newton Souza, and Akbar Padamsee as well as the renowned Sayed Haider Raza, whose work is currently being exhibited in a major retrospective in New York City.

Herve Perdriolle, Artcurial Indian Art Consultant

Sayed Haider Raza, Rajasthan,1984, acrylic on canvas, 68,9x68,9 in, 175x175 cm, 450 000 € - 550 000 €

The works will be presented to the public from November 29 to December 2, 11:00 am - 19:00 pm, at the prestigious Hôtel Dassault located where Avenue des Champs Elysées meets Avenue Montaigne at 7 Rond Point des Champs Elysées, Paris (free entry).
Auction at the Hôtel Dassault on Monday, December 3, 14:15

Artcurial website (en)
Artcurial website (fr)

> Catalogue now online

The forthcoming Artcurial Contemporary Art Auction in Paris, April 3th, 2008, will offer important works by international contemporary artists including those of the most renowned Indian artists.
>> read more

Next Artcurial Indian Art Auction September 2008
Contact Hervé Perdriolle, Artcurial Indian Art Consultant