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International Iconic: Top Highlights From AstaGuru’s First Standalone International Auction
By Anandita Bhardwaj
25 Nov 2022
AstaGuru reaches an international milestone with its upcoming International Iconic auction set to showcase a medley of works by revered and iconic global artists. The stunning lineup of the auction scheduled on November 28-29, 2022, represents some of the most important moments in modern art history. The collection also puts a spotlight on the emergence and impact of modern art towards the mid twentieth century with creations by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Fernand Léger, Bernard Buffet, Marc Chagall, and Salvador Dali. A unique work by a famous pop artist Andy Warhol will also be offered. The collection also showcases experimentative artworks by leading contemporary artists including Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Yayoi Kusama, Robert Indiana, and Marc Sijan among others. Here are some of the highlights from the upcoming auction.
Lot no.1: Femme Et Bouquets by Henri Matisse
The celebrated life and career of artist Henri Matisse rest on the rich legacy of his oeuvre that fundamentally changed the course of modern art and continues to serve as an inspiration to artists even today. The presented lot, executed in 1940, defined with simplistic and elegant unshaded lines formed the basis of his famous Thèmes et Variations sequence of paintings. Titled ‘Femme et Bouquets,’ this work was illustrated in a book titled ‘Matisse,’ by Pierre Schneider.
Lot no. 8: Baigneuse Assise by Pierre Auguste Renoir
Leading the auction line is lot no.8, a beautiful work by French Impressionist master Pierre Auguste–Renoir, who created an extraordinary artistic legacy with his fascinating canvases bearing sublime female nudes. Titled Baigneuse Assise or the Seated Bather, the circa 1915, oil on canvas creation depicts the sitter in profile with a softly defined figure against a warm abstract dominated by a brown and green background that almost blends with the contours of her figure. Her curled hair, pink naked flesh, and the nonchalance of her unassuming posture in this idyllic masterpiece are exemplary of the intimate study of his models undertaken by Renoir. With variations of a rich mould of colours and sporadic thick impasto, the surface of the canvas evokes a dreamlike, almost ethereal harmony. This work was formerly in the collection of revered English playwright and novelist W Somerset Maugham who was also a passionate collector of Impressionist and Modern art.The painting also featured on the cover of his book ‘Purely For My Pleasure,’ published in 1962. It will be offered with an estimate of INR 4,34, 50,000 – 5,53,00,000.
Lot no. 2,3,4: Dali Tarots
A collection of unique works, lot no. 2,3,4 by Salvador Dali will be showcased in AstaGuru’s upcoming international iconic auction. These works belong to a limited series of 78 custom decks of tarot cards known as Dali’s Universal Tarot which the artist started to work on during the early 1970s. First commissioned to him by Hollywood producer Albert Broccoli, the tarot deck was meant to be used as a prop in the James Bond film Live and Let Die. However, the deal fell through, supposedly due to Dali’s exorbitant monetary demands, the artist remained intrigued with the idea and continued to work on the cards. We would like to send an article about the artists and the significance of the work in context of Dali’s layered art practice. Each of the cards is estimated to be acquired at INR 19,75,000 – 27,65,000.
Lot no. 5: Buste D’homme Et Femme Nus by Picasso
The reinterpretation of the female nude is one of the greatest legacy in the oeuvre of Pablo Picasso. Picasso's groundbreaking works on this subject not only questioned the long-standing conventions, but also introduced a disconcerting new way of looking that rejects the majority of the constraints that had hitherto characterised the feminine body. A work by him, lot.no.5 executed with coloured wax crayon on paper in 1969 is also a part of the auction. It was exhibited at R.S. Johnson International Gallery in 1971. This work is offered at an estimate of INR 2,37,00,000 – 3,95,00,000. With 2023 being the year of Picasso’s 50th death anniversary, galleries and galleries and museums around the world are gearing up to celebrate him. Added to his monumental fame, this has heightened interest in his work.
Lot no. 10: Still Life by Fernando Botero
An exceptional example of luscious still life paintings in the oeuvre of Fernando Botero, the presented work emerges from a beautiful blend of his distinct style and the childhood nostalgia of his homeland Columbia. Evoking a vision of everyday life there, the painting depicts a table with fruits and other objects. The flailing curtains of the open window overlooking a roof of a house in a Colombian village enhance the vivacity emerging from the vibrant canvas. By accentuating the shape of his chosen objects, the artist imparts a form of sensuality and voluptuousness that had defined his art practice.
Lot no. 14: Beautiful Hours Spin Painting IX by Damien Hirst
Lot no. 14, a work by Damien Hirst titled 'Beautiful Hours Spin Painting IX,’ was originally unveiled as the cover for the album ‘See the Light’ by British rock band ‘The Hours'. The impactful imagery rendered in a psychedelic colour composition with high-gloss paint embodies the central theme of life and death, which has been a preoccupation and inspirational subject for the artist. The elements in the work, such as the skull, and a clock in the eye socket, become a metaphor for the fleetingness of life. Referencing from ‘Vanitas,’ a common genre in paintings of the 16th and 17th centuries signifying the transience of life, these symbols appropriate the impermanence of bodily existence. And yet, weaved through the technique of Damien Hirst’s iconic spin painting, the work exudes a sense of joie de vivre. This work will be offered with an estimate of INR 2,37,00,000 – 3,95,00,000.
Lot no. 30: Love (Gold Blue) by Robert Indiana
Lot no. 30 is a rendition of famous ‘Love Sculptures,’ by Robert Indiana. First executed as a painting in 1965 and being displayed at a solo exhibition at the Stable Gallery, it became a career-defining piece for the artist. Inspired by his Christian Science church upbringing, Indiana created hard-edged paintings stacking each letter on top of the other in an angular, slightly tilted manner. He would then go on to use the image for various other mediums including the iconic sculptures and stamps known around the world. The image was also selected to be the Museum of Modern Art’s Christmas card, becoming wildly popular. In 1970, he created a 12-foot tall steel sculpture with the same word for the Indianapolis Museum of Art, followed by ‘Ahava’ in Jerusalem and ‘Amor’ in Spain. This work will be offered with an estimate of INR 3,16,00,000 – 4,74,00,000.
Lot no. 33: Poinsettia by Andy Warhol
Lot no. 33 is a unique work titled ‘Poinsettia’ by iconic artist Andy Warhol and marks a departure from his popular body of work focusing on the culture of consumerism. At the same time, it also gives an insight into his personal side and his approach to aestheticizing the surrounding elements and subjects that intrigued him. Bearing Poinsettia flowers, often referred to as the unofficial flower of Christmas, this work is an ode to Warhol’s endearment to the theme of Christmas. Resembling the Star of Bethlehem, the ubiquitous flower traces its attachment to the Christmas holiday through a 16th-century Mexican fable about a poor girl who decorated the church altar with weeds that miraculously sprouted into flowers. Sharing this festive merriment with a large legion of his friends during the early 1980s, Warhol executed over 20 paintings in different sizes featuring Poinsettia. One of these, the presented work, was created in 1983 by Warhol and gifted to his friend Christopher Mako. A photographer, author and artist, Mako met Warhol during his early twenties in the decade of the 1970s. He soon became one of the people in Andy’s inner circle who frequented The Factory and also produced several photographs capturing the pulsating world of the studio. It will be offered with an estimate of INR 1,10,60,000 – 1,89, 60,000.