Saturday, June 8, 2013

Pakistan @ the summer auctions in London

by Artwallaa

Aisha Khalid - Source: Sotheby's website 
The Summer auction sales for the South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art will start from next week with Christies and Sotheby’s auctioning on the same day (June 11, thankfully on in the morning and one in the afternoon) while Bonham’s “Islamic and Indian Art’ is scheduled for the 18th of June.

With the artists continuing to make mark on the international auction scene, there are 37 works of Pakistani artists appearing in 26 lots over 4 different auctions in June alone. Sotheby’s has given prominent space to 26 works from Pakistani artists with lot number 61-76 in a total of 90 lots (Lot #66 is from Zarina Hashmi and I would consider her as much Pakistani as Indian, even though she is technically now American). Christie’s ‘South Asian Modern & Contemporary Art’ has works from Pakistani artists sprinkled across the entire auction, with eight works in 7 lots. Bonham’s has a couple of beautiful Gulgees while Rashid Rana’s famous Veil Series (Veil IV) appears in the main stream Sotheby’s ‘Contemporary Art Day’ on June 27th.

Sadequain - Source: Sotheby's website

The auctions represent a good mix of both modern and contemporary Pakistani artists starting with the seven Chughtai etchings at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. The next one is an unusual, untitled and a very early work of Sadequain from 1950 at Soethby’s. A pen and ink on paper, it portrays a village scene and seems to have good provenance, purchased by Dutch expatriates living in Pakistan in 1956 (good provenance has become critical in the past decade as fakes have flooded the market). The second Sadequain is also an ink on paper composition from 1962. Christie’s also has two paper works of Sadequain.
Untitled (Lady)
Allah Buksh - Source: Christie's website
There is a small (12 by 8 inches) and peculiar work of Allah Buksh appearing in the Christie’s. A water colour and pencil work on card, it is the portrait of a lady in traditional clothes and beautiful shades of pink. This wok was recently sold in a Swiss auction house in November 2012.
Ismail Gulgee (Pakistan, 1926-2007) Untitled,
Ismael Gulgee - Source: Bonham's website

The two Gulgees at Bonham’s are the artist’s trademark works. Both compositions are rich in colour, with confident and somewhat violent exhibition of brush strokes.
Green & Red Composition
Shemza - Source: Christie's website
And then there are beautiful works of Shemza who continues to have a strong resurgence more than 27 years after he passed away. His two works at Christies (Lot #33 and 34) are real gems based on the brilliant use of geometric forms. Sotheby’s has 4 works of Shemza too which are good, but Christie’s take the cake on Shemza!
Untitled (Reshape)
Imran Qureshi - Source: Christie's website
On the contemporary side, both auction houses seemed to have dug up an Imran Qureshi each. The artist has catapulted to the main international scene after winning the prestigious Artist of the Year award for 2013 and also after the opening of his Roof-top installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.  Both works are from his 2005-06 ‘Reshape’ series, one coming from the ASAL Collection (The Art Fund out of London) and the other from India. Equally important (if not more in iconic sense) is the work of Rashid Rana appearing in the mainstream (where global artists are put together regardless of regions they come from) Sotheby’s auction ‘Contemporary Art Day’. The highly provocative and equally acclaimed work from the Veil Series will undoubtedly create excitement amongst collectors globally.

Naiza Khan - Source: Sotheby's website

There are two works from the usually ‘difficult to get’ Aisha Khalid from her 2006-07 exhibitions in London and Hong Kong. Also included in the sale are works from Farida Batool (‘Line of Control’ is provocative at many different levels), Naiza Khan, Sehr Shah and Talha Rathore.

The quality and the quantity of the work appears much better than the spring collection in March (in New York). Collectors of Pakistani art are in for an exciting few weeks.
Click here to go to Christies website
Click here to go to Sotheby's related website page
Click here to go to Bonham's related website page

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