Much to look forward to at Sotheby's Asia Week Sale in New York

A total of 79 artworks are expected go on the block at Asia Week Sale in New York on March 16

The preview at The Leela Palace Delhi on February 20, 2019 had small teaser of works. The preview at The Leela Palace Delhi on February 20, 2019 had small teaser of works.

Manjari Sihare-Sutin Head of Sales, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, New York, said, “It's not always possible to a thread for the entire collection. What is possible is to put certain schools of art together. For instance, there's a corner of neo tantra art in this collection.” So there was Mahirwan Mamtan's Centrovision 964 an acrylic on wood cut-out; Pakhal Tirumal Reddy's Concept of Sun; and a set of 13 pieces from Acharya Vyakul that look at the chakras and the kundalini. War, partition and loss was seen in Vivan Sundaram's War, a set of four in charcoal on paper came about after he visited Auschwitz. Zarine's wood pieces in an abstract collage that  shows boundaries; among others.

The masters remain the favourites. All eyes are on Vasudev S. Gaitonde (untitled), of course. Nasreen Mohamedi's untitled canvas is vying for a chunk of the pie, too. An abstract landscape, it's difficult to tell which side should be up. But Sihare-Sutin explained that the person who had the painting for over fifty years knew the artist and had it hung this side up in her home. Another interesting tidbit is the reason the artist put her name on the reverse of the painting.

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There's a letter in her handwriting to Peggy Mathew who had the painting for more than fifty years: “Ah yes. I wanted to tell you about my signature. I feel that the signature on the painting  hinders with the form & so I put it on the back.” This is buried under a back cover that no galleryist or auctioneer is willing to uncover, for obvious reasons. Raja Ravi Varma's compelling figure of Vishvamitra, at the preview was a reproduction. Counted a national treasure, if the original were to come to India it would not be allowed to leave again. Benode Behari Mukherjee's paper cut-outs from paper are impressive, particularly as the artist had turned blind when he took to making cut-outs from paper.

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There's something for a variety of palates, from S.H Raza's earlier artworks, his phase of abstracts from before his dance with the Bindu that came to be known as his hallmark, a couple of Hussains, Krishen Khanna and Satish Gujral. 

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