samedi 26 avril 2008

Art Appreciation

Karen Mazurkewich, Financial Post Published: Saturday, April 26, 2008

Neville Tuli is a frenetic force in the Indian art market. But tonight, the eccentric founder of Osian's Connoisseurs of Art, the Mumbai-based auction house, sits quietly behind the scene while $7.7-million worth of modern and contemporary paintings, including a work by Tyeb Mehta that sells for US$504,000, go under the hammer.
The globalization of the Indian art market, which he helped forge, is taking its toll: tonight Mr. Tuli is fighting a terrible case of the flu. "Today the perception [of art] is different from five years ago," says Mr. Tuli, who mustered the strength to fly across India to attend the event.
"Art is on the verge of being institutionalized as a genuine asset, and India is on the forefront of this," he says.
Mr. Tuli is clearly a big believer in the notion of art as a portfolio investment. Last month he announced that the Dubai-based private equity firm Abraaj Capital paid $20.4-million for a 9.4% stake in Osian's, which includes the auction house, a private collection and film archive valued at $216-million. One year earlier, another group of investors paid roughly $14-million for a stake. Now he's announced he will take his auction house public in 2009.
A decade ago, when he launched his first auction in Mumbai, there was little demand for India's modern masters. For five years he promoted them, selling only $1.2-million worth of art between 1997 and 2002.
Today, the subcontinent is awash with art galleries and online auctions. Some of the highest prices for Indian art have been reached on Mumbaibased Saffron Art, an online art auction house. Last month, a sale of edgy contemporary Indian paintings raked in $7.15-million in sales, more than double Sotheby's Indian contemporary art sale six months earlier. Saffron Art's co-founder Dinesh Vazirani has opened an office in London to tap overseas clients. "We are finally seeing international interest," says Mr. Vazirani, who set a new benchmark with his February sale.
The rise in the Indian art market reflects the new wealth in India. Industrialists and IT specialists are forking over thousands of dollars to lay claim to modern masters like M.F. Husain, Ram Kumar and S.H. Raza. But its rapid ascent also reflects its embrace by Western collectors.
The arrival of hedge fund and private-equity managers on the art scene also means a broader base for edgier new works, says Mr. Vazirani.
The focus of the art world has shifted. As prices of Western contemporary artists such as Gerhard Richter and Damien Hirst hit new highs in 2000, collectors turned to so-called emerging art centres in China, Russia, the Middle East and India, says Carola Wiese, deputy at the Swiss investment bank's UBS AG Art Banking division.
Last week, UBS brought Ms. Wiese to Canada to meet with 50 of its wealthiest clients. Canadians are more conservative, and tend to buy local art, she admits. But many of UBS's clients are increasingly open to artists around the world. "Global tastes are changing," she says.
Ms. Wiese cautions investors: "You have to have the emotional dividend on the artwork and it should not be a pure financial focus." But she adds: "Our clients have seen the prices going up like crazy with Chinese contemporary art and they want to diversify, much like a portfolio. The art market is mirroring the development of the financial markets."
Back in early 2000, only a handful of China's artists were registered on the secondary international art market. But in 2007, China overtook France as the third largest country in terms of annual revenue by auction houses. Total revenues by auction houses selling Chinese art rose 78% between 2006 and 2007, according to Art Market Trends. Five years ago, only Cai Guoqiang made the Artprice index top 100 contemporary artists by sales revenues. In 2007, 36 Chinese artists made the list. Zhang Xiaogang, the artist whose work Family Portrait sold for US$4.4-million at Christie's New York last November, is now ahead of the iconoclastic artist Jeff Koons.
With the rapid appreciation of Chinese art, the market has set its sights on India. Sotheby's sold only US$6.2-million of Indian art worldwide in 2004, but last year it raked in US$39-million. "We witnessed a tremendous growth in 2005," says Anuradha Ghosh-Mazumdar, deputy director of Indian and southwest art at Sotheby's in New York. The buyers, mostly wealthy Indians, were snapping up modern masters.
While top modernists such as Maqbool Fida Husain and Ram Kumar are attracting top dollar -- their works sold for US$1.6-million and US$1.14-million respectively at Christie's New York auction last month-- they are also helping to raise the profile of lesser-known Indian artists.
"What we are seeing now is an enormous amount of interest in younger contemporary artists," says Ms. Ghosh-Mazumdar. "This is because of the increased participation of non-Indian clients," she says.
At the recent international art fairs, Ms. Ghosh-Mazumdar was surprised to see many buyers walking around venues with a shopping list that includes young Indian artists. It helps that prominent collectors such as Charles Saatchi of the U.K. and Francois Pinault, who own's Christie's auction house, are buying works by Indian contemporary artists. Mr. Pinault purchased Gupta's Very Hungry God, a gigantic human skull composed entirely of Indian stainless steel kitchen utensils, to display outside the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.
Sotheby's also recently included Indian contemporary paintings in its Western contemporary art sale in London, and will add a work by Mr. Gupta in its upcoming New York show. "Now, with a whole new group of participants entering the market, we will start seeing the Indian younger crop reach the mil-lion-dollar mark in the near future," she says.
At the auction in Delhi, the old collectors shake their heads at the prices. People are getting rich and need art to cover their walls, says one collector who does not want to be named. "They are buying Raza, Souza and Husain to show off the brand name--like Gucci," he says.
Sidheshwar Dayal agrees. Mr. Dayal, heir to the Regal Cinema chain, has been collecting for years and even opened his own gallery for awhile. "It's good to know my collection is increasing in value."

lundi 21 avril 2008

Sotheby's lines up Indian contemporary art in London

22 Apr, 2008, Ashoke Nag

KOLKATA: Sotheby’s is unfurling a comprehensive sale of Indian modern and contemporary art in London in early May. The auction sports an overall estimate of around £2.4 million and will see some 120 lots go under the hammer.
This sale follows the New York auction in March, spurred by the “ever-growing interest in and rising profile of Indian art on the international stage.”

The selection of works will trace the course of Indian art over the past century encompassing important works by key figures of the modern Indian art movement such as FN Souza and Akbar Padamsee through to cutting-edge contemporary names like Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher and Jitish Kallat.
The sale will also feature 11 rare works from the exquisite collection of William and Mildred Archer, two remarkable scholars who played a crucial role in bringing Indian art to the vanguard in this field. The Archer collection includes paintings by Rabindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy, George Keyt and Avinash Chandra.

In an email to ET from London, the director and head of Indian art at Sotheby’s, Zara Porter-Hill said, “The international focus on India and Indian art continues to gather momentum and the contemporary scene, in particular, is really flourishing. We are delighted to respond to this spotlight and surging demand by bringing a first-class cross-section of modern and contemporary Indian works to the saleroom this May. The sale’s highlights will be considerable; exciting and innovative contemporary works from the likes of Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher and Jitish Kallat. In tandem, there are major examples from frontline figures of the modern movement like FN Souza and extraordinary works, with superlative provenance, from the collection of William and Mildred Archer.”

The most valuable lot in the sale is by the famed modernist FN Souza, titled The Red Road. It boasts of a £250,000-350,000 presale estimate.
“The canvas was a gift from Souza to his wife Maria in 1962, a period widely acknowledged as the artist’s most successful, and it was later bequeathed by Maria to the present owner. The painting was exhibited at the Hayward Gallery in 1989,” Ms Porter-Hill said.

Two important Padamsee works are also on sale in the modern section. An untitled nude, dated 956, is estimated at £150,000-200,000 and is being sold by a European collector. An untitled landscape by the artist is pegged in the range of £150,000-250,000.

Figuring among the contemporary works is a Subodh Gupta untitled oil on canvas, created in 2005, which sports an estimate of £70,000-100,000. At the same time, Bharti Kher’s Missing is placed in the bracket of £30,000-40,000, while Jitish Kallat’s Humiliation Tax II is priced at £25,000-35,000.
Another contemporary highlight is a ‘striking’ diptych by Thukral & Tagra, called Stop Think Go, which has been priced in the band of £30,000-40,000.

dimanche 20 avril 2008

Sotheby's London Presents its Annual Indian Art Sale Including 120 Lots of Exceptional Quality

source :

LONDON.- With the ever growing interest in and rising profile of Indian Art on the international stage - and the conspicuous success and performance of Indian Contemporary artists in particular - Sotheby’s announced that its annual sale of Indian Art in London will take place on Friday, May 2, 2008. The sale will present some 120 lots of exceptional quality and provenance which trace the course of Indian Art over the last century encompassing important works by key figures of the Modern Indian Art movement such as Francis Newton Souza and Akbar Padamsee through to the cutting-edge Contemporary names of Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher and Jitish Kallat. The sale will also be highlighted by eleven exceptionally rare works from the collection of the late William and Mildred Archer, two remarkable scholars who played a fundamental role in bringing Indian Art to the fore. The sale is expected to realise in excess of £2.4 million.

Zara Porter Hill, Director and Head of Indian Art at Sotheby’s, comments: “The international focus on India and Indian Art continues to gather momentum and the Contemporary scene - in particular – is really flourishing. We’re delighted to respond to this spotlight and surging demand by bringing a first-class cross section of Modern and Contemporary Indian works to the saleroom this May. The sale’s highlights will be considerable; exciting and innovative Contemporary works from the likes of Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher and Jitish Kallat; major examples from key figures of the Modern movement like Francis Newton Souza; and eleven exceptional works – with superlative provenance - from the collection of William and Mildred Archer.”

Highlighting the Modern works in the sale will be Francis Newton Souza’s (1924-2002) The Red Road which, with an estimate of £250,000-350,000, is the most valuable lot in the sale. The canvas was a gift from Souza to his wife Maria in 1962 - a period widely acknowledged as the artist’s most successful - and it was later bequeathed by Maria to the present owner. The painting was exhibited at the Hayward Gallery in 1989. Goan traditions - in addition to the mainstream of daily life in Goa - were the inspiration for Souza throughout his career. Souza described the landscape into which he was born as “a beautiful country, full of rice fields and palm trees; whitewashed churches with lofty steeples; small houses with imbricated tiles, painted in a variety of colours. Glimpses of the blue sea. Red roads curving over hills and straight across paddy fields. Morning is announced by the cock crowing; the approaching night by Angelus bells.” (F.N.Souza, Words and Lines, 1959) There can be little doubt though that Souza’s traditional Goan upbringing was as much a source of his deepest anguish as of his best work.

Two works by Akbar Padamsee (b.1928) will be further notable highlights of the Modern section. Padamsee’s style and subject matter alternates between primary and tertiary colours and between the human figure and the landscape, all of which are demonstrated in the works on offer. The artist’s Untitled oil depicts a nude and dates from 1956; it is estimated at £150,000-200,000 and is being sold by a European collector. Nudes were a recurring theme in Padamsee’s oeuvre and they all tended to depict isolated figures who had aged, endured sadness or whose bodies had witnessed the ravages of time. His figures portray an indefinable transcendence that takes them beyond mere life studies. An Untitled archetypal landscape scene by the artist, estimated at £150,000-250,000, is the result of a series of experiments juxtaposing colours and exploring textures.

Moving on to the Contemporary highlights of the sale, the star of the group will be an Untitled canvas by the much talked about Subodh Gupta (b. 1974) and the sale of this work comes hot on the heels of the artist’s triumph in Sotheby’s international sales of Contemporary Art in both London and New York earlier this year.

Dating from 2005, the Untitled oil on canvas is being sold by a European collector and is estimated at £70,000-100,000. Gupta, who is now based in Delhi, works in a wide range of media from sculpture and painting to installation, photography, video and performance and the common theme across all of these various forms is that he elevates the status of mundane objects or scenes of everyday life in India to striking contemporary images that are accessible to an international audience. Gupta creates emblems and symbols of the society around him and draws from his own experiences of the stark contrasts present in a country which combines rural poverty and isolation with growing global urbanisation. Untitled makes reference to luggage and travel, a symbol of the great changes that are being seen in India today and in particular the polarities of traditional and modern India, of urban and rural India and between the rich and the poor. Gupta is an artist with an acute social consciousness and he portrays cultural polarities with an affectionate compassion.

The international reputation of Bharti Kher (b. 1969) has grown considerably in recent years and months and she will be represented in the sale by a striking aluminium panel encrusted with bindis entitled Missing. Like Gupta, Kher takes her inspiration from a wide range of images and artifacts from her daily life and surroundings. Over the past few years she has appropriated the bindi – traditionally a mark of pigment applied to the forehead and associated with the Hindu symbol of the third eye - in all its various shapes, colours and forms to create complex works that are visually mesmerizing, technically time consuming and conceptually multilayered. The morphing of the traditional significance of the bindi from a symbol full of latent religious meaning to a mass produced object that has increasingly become a global commodity, is an interesting aspect of Kher’s work which appears to be influenced by her experiences of having lived and worked in both the UK and India. The overlying theme of Kher’s work relates to identity, both that of individuals and that of communities, and this has led her to explore issues such as class, consumer society, feminism and the relationship between tradition and contemporaneity. Many of her works possess a dry wit or ironic stance but all show a deep-rooted understanding of the culture of India from both inside and out. Missing was executed in 2006 and is expected to fetch £30,000-40,000.

Jitish Kallat (b. 1974) is another artist who is at the forefront of the Indian Contemporary art scene and his work is from a series collectively titled Humiliation Tax, with each mixed media canvas in the series dominated by the centralised image of a young underprivileged child, who is symbolic of the most vulnerable and impoverished members of Indian society. The series continues a more general theme concerning the polarities of experience within urban India that the artist has explored through several series over a period of a few years.

Executed in 2005, Humiliation Tax - II is estimated at £25,000-35,000. A striking diptych by Thukral & Tagra (b. 1976 and 1979) entitled Stop Think Go also looks set to be hotly contested. Dating from 2006, the acrylic and oil on canvas was part of Thukral & Tagra’s first exhibition in New York that addressed the problem of HIV and AIDS in India. Estimated at £30,000-40,000, the colourful large-scale painting shows couples of all genders sleeping amid Thukral & Tagra’s signature devices.

mercredi 9 avril 2008

Gurgaon sculptor carves niche with Rs 3.1 cr Vehicle...

Mail Today, India Today, April 9, 2008, by Archana in New Delhi

GURGAON- BASED Subodh Gupta set a record for Indian contemporary art in continental Europe when he notched up Rs 3.1 crore at an auction conducted in Paris this past weekend by Artcurial, one of Europe’s foremost names in the business. This was not an auction purely of Indian contemporary art, which makes Gupta’s achievement seem slightly bigger. For, he bested artists from China and Russia to top the auction. Gupta, 44, got a whopping €502,331 for his bronze- andaluminum installation, Vehicle For The Seven Seas ( 2004). This was more than thrice its highest estimated pre- auction price and the amount translates into US$ 785,243, or approximately Rs 3.1 crore. It was also Gupta’s personal best at any auction so far — his previous best was US$ 494,308 ( Rs 19,772,319) for a work sold in Hong Kong on November 25, 2007.

According to Herve Perdriolle, India expert at Artcurial, Gupta’s Vehicle… was one of the most keenly contested works at the auction, with bids coming in on phone from international buyers. Eventually, it was a French buyer in the room who walked away with the coveted work of art. Among his generation of contemporary Indian artists, Gupta has steadily emerged as one of the hot favourites in the West and his record, established in an hitherto unexplored territory, France, is only an extension of the popularity that he enjoys in established markets like the US and the UK. The media in the West has been singing paeans for Gupta. The Guardian issue called him “ the current darling of the booming Indian art market” and compared him with the irrepressible Damien Hurst. The artist, though, refuses to speak on the subject. “ I’m not interested in talking about it, no matter what,” he says firmly. Gupta’s achievement comes at a time when the Indian art market is beginning to find a balance again after a lull last year. What’s more important is that this also marks the breaking of a new barrier by Indian art — mainland Europe, where Artcurial had first held an exclusive Indian art auction in December last year.

Other Indian contemporaries at the Artcurial auction, which had about 600 lots on offer spread over two days, included Anita Dube, Bose Krishnamachari, Sohan Qadri and the Warli tribal artist Jivya Soma Mashe. Mashe’s inclusion in the list is another milestone, for folk/ tribal artists have so far been ignored in auctions dealing with Indian art.
The achievement of Gupta is sure to be feted by watchers of the Indian art market as it tries to answer the most pertinent question plaguing the field — who, after S. H. Raza, F. N. Souza, Tyeb Mehta, M. F. Husain and the other modernists? For long, they have been garnering crores at all the auctions. But now, the focus is shifting towards the generation that came after them, better known as contemporaries in the art jargon. The contemporaries have been slowly creating their own crorepati club. At the Saffron Art online auction of contemporary Indian art on March 12- 13, five canvases had crossed the crore barrier and of these two were by Subodh Gupta. He, clearly, is the brightest star on the horizon. Gupta’s life also has the dash of romance that such success stories deserve. Coming from the unknown Khagaul village on the outskirts of Patna, Gupta shifted to Delhi in 1988 and struggled along to be ranked as the most preferred contemporary Indian artist today. He’s a favourite of the French luxury empire owner, Francois Pinault, an important French collector who’s also the owner of Gucci and largest shareholder in Christie’s. “ I think my biggest strength is that even when I was starving in pursuit of art, I didn’t give up and continued to work hard,” says Gupta. He continues to do so, even as he works assiduously at avoiding any questions on auctions. archana.

mardi 8 avril 2008

Indian art makes big cut at Paris auction

The Economic Times, 8 Apr, 2008, Ashoke Nag

KOLKATA: Well-known contemporary artist Subodh Gupta has swung a world record at a sale of Indian modern & contemporary art in Paris by French auction house Artcurial. Gupta’s Vehicle for the Seven Seas fetched e502,330 ($785,243). The price was three times the presale estimate of e140,000-180,000. The artist had previously achieved this record in Hong Kong in November 2007, with an untitled painting fetching $494,308.

This record is also the second best for Indian contemporary art. NS Harsha’s Mass Marriage, painted in 2003, fetched $833,483, the highest price ever, in Hong Kong in 2007.

“In Vehicle for the Seven Seas, Subodh Gupta focuses on recent changes in the ordinary rural milieu from which he came. In this poor, traditional society, each individual is suddenly faced with the precarious nature of migratory movements. The incessant coming and going between the country and the city and between India and the rest of the world have imposed on a traditionally sedentary population the unlimited insecurity of being between two worlds. In this infinitely distended outdoor space, baggage replaces intimacy. The objects it contains create the fixed landscape of our wanderings,” Herve Perdriolle, an Indian art consultant at Artcurial, told ET in an email from Paris.

He added: “A packed salesroom saw fierce bidding for the Subodh Gupta work from the floor and international callers. The emblematic sculpture was finally picked up by a French collector present in the auction room.”

In step with Gupta, Stretched Bodies, an acrylic on canvas by Bose Krishnamachari went for e47,800 and an ink on paper by Sohan Qadri has fetched e20,160. A painting by Jivya Soma Mashe, the well-known Warli artist, which saw a pre-sale estimate of e5,000-6,000, was sold for e13,860.

“We can think that these Other Masters (title of the historical exhibition curated by Jyotindra Jain in 1998 at the Craft Museum, New Delhi) like Jivya Soma Mashe could be more successful during the next few years and their estimates could be still very low compared to the best works by the most renowned native Australian artists,” Mr Perdriolle said.

“The French collectors claim they are strongly interested in Indian contemporary art. French billionaire Francois Pinault showed his collection of The Hungry God by Subodh Gupta in front of Palaza Grassi in Venice. In step, Claude Berri, the famous French movie producer, will showcase his Indian contemporary art collection in Paris in May and June. At the same time, 2010 will be a great season for Indian art in France with two important exhibitions — one concerning Indian tribal art at the fantastic new Musee du Quai Branly and the other about contemporary art at the Centre Pompidou,” Mr Perdriolle said.

dimanche 6 avril 2008

Top grossers of the artscape

The Financial Express, Sunday, April 06, 2008, Compiled by Sulekha Nair

* Sotheby's New York 2008 spring sales of Indian art, including modern paintings, works of art and miniatures, brought a total of $12,133,626. MF Husain’s untitled work from 1953 led the sale at $409,000 followed by FN Souza’s Head of a Man at $313,000 and Husain’s untitled at $289,000.

* Saffronart’s spring online auction of contemporary Indian art in 2008 closed at a total sale value of over Rs 27 crore ($7.15 million), which was well above its total higher estimate of Rs 19.56 crore ($5.1 million). The top five in this sale were Surendran Nair’s Doctrine of the Forest: An Actor at Play (Cuckoonebulopolis), going for Rs 2.12 crore ($558,969); Subodh Gupta’s untitled work going for Rs 1.81 crore ($477,250); Subodh Gupta’s Let Me Make My Damn Art, going for Rs 1.66 crore ($437,000); Jagannath Panda’s untitled work going for Rs 1.34 crore ($353,625); and Shibu Natesan’s Each One Teach One, going for Rs 1.06 crore ($281,448).

* Osian’s Indian modern and contemporary art auction on March 18 saw J Swaminathan’s Mountain and Bird Series crossing the Rs 2 crore mark, Tyeb Mehta’s untitled work going at Rs 1.98 crore. Ape Series, a painting by Rameshwar Broota went for Rs 1.68 crore, Landscape in Red by FN Souza at Rs 1.56 crore, an untitled painting by Ramkumar fetched Rs 1.05 crore and Subodh Gupta’s iconic Taxi-baggage series for Rs 81.60 lakh becoming his most expensive painting with a square inch rate of Rs 6,927.

* Bonhams modern and contemporary Indian, Arab, Iranian and Pakistani art auction held in Dubai in March 2008, had MF Husain, FN Souza, Jagdish Swaminathan, Jamini Roy as the top sellers. Souza’s The Elder sold for £4,56,000, Swaminathan’s Mountain and Bird for $2,64,000 and an untitled painting by Ram Kumar for £2,40,000.

vendredi 4 avril 2008

`Jean de Florette' Director Claude Berri Opens Paris Art Space

Bloomberg New York, April 3, By Farah Nayeri

Claude Berri, the director of ``Jean de Florette'' and producer of France's surprise smash hit about life up north (``Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis''), has opened an art space in Paris to spotlight his other passion: collecting.

Tucked away in a cobbled alley near the Pompidou Center, the Espace Claude Berri is a glass-fronted gallery designed by the Pritzker prizewinning architect Jean Nouvel, though another architects' practice carried out the work. Here, Berri will show the work of artists he likes and owns. Proceeds of art sales will be split with the artists' dealers.

The opening show is by Gilles Barbier, born in 1965, whose giant, juvenile maquettes -- fitted with tiny monkeys and banana- peel replicas -- fill the gallery. Barbier also has sculptures of hanging worms, with teeth and red lips biting into a cartoon bubble that reads ``OUCH.''

Berri, 73, is ``mad about art,'' says Barbier, standing in a dark coat and T-shirt next to a sculpture of smeared cheese, banana and excrement.

``He's a guy who puts major resources at the service of art,'' says Barbier. ``There are lots of people with major resources, but they tend to travel on yachts along the coast of Malta, if you know what I mean.''

According to the auction result tracker ArtNet, the highest auction price ever fetched by a Barbier work is a 1996 sculpture entitled ``Orgue a Pet'' (``Flatulence Organ'') which sold for 61,960 euros ($98,000), below the pre-sale estimate.

Nouvel Design - The Espace Claude Berri, open since March 21, has a gray floor and columns, and high, sloping skylights that give it a greenhouse look. Offices are in the basement, except for Berri's, a chic room at the back with original beige-and-brown chairs by the 1950s French designer Jean Prouve.

Future shows will be devoted to Indian artists in his collection including Subodh Gupta (May 24 to July 19); to trees in contemporary art, with works by Tacita Dean and Rodney Graham (Sept. 13 to Nov. 8); and Keith Tyson (Dec. 2008 to Jan. 2009.)

Berri -- whose first art purchase was a painting by Rene Magritte he paid $50,000 for in the early 1970s and kept for 15 years -- has a collection containing not only Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger, Salvador Dali and Alberto Giacometti, but also plenty of living artists: Richard Serra, Richard Prince, Dan Flavin, Jeff Wall, Christian Boltanski and Daniel Buren.

French Blockbuster - Best known in France as a film producer and director, Berri had the foresight to sign on Dany Boon, the writer-director of ``Les Ch'tis,'' and watch the tale of a southern man who warms to the rainy north sell 4.4 million tickets in its first week, beating all records for a French film, and bolstering the fortunes of production company Pathe SA.

The producer, who declined to be interviewed for this article, told the February issue of ``Beaux Arts'' magazine that art changed his life, and that he would never sell his Robert Ryman or Giorgio Morandi works.

``Today, I have the impression of being more gifted for art than for cinema,'' said Berri.

The 1986 films ``Jean de Florette'' and ``Manon of the Spring,'' both of which he wrote and directed, are among his biggest hits. He has produced more than 50 films.

This is not Berri's first art space. For years, he ran a non- commercial Left Bank exhibition space which he later sold to fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.

The opening of Berri's gallery could help revive interest in France's contemporary-art market. None of the world's 20 top- selling contemporary artists last year was French, according to a ranking published March 31 by the French-based art-market database Artprice.

The French government is trying to change that -- by commissioning works from big-name contemporary artists such as Anselm Kiefer, and opening a contemporary art center on a suburban island, Ile Seguin, with workshops, research centers, display rooms and an experimental garden.

For more information, go to

jeudi 3 avril 2008

French auction house to showcase Indian works

The Economic Times, 4 Apr, 2008, Ashoke Nag

KOLKATA: French auctioneer Artcurial is coming up with a contemporary art sale of Chinese, Russian and Indian artists. The major names in the Indian section embrace Anita Dube, Bose Krishnamachari and Subodh Gupta. Artcurial’s first auction of Indian Modern & Contemporary Art had achieved sales of e1.418 million.

“The forthcoming Artcurial Contemporary Art Auction in Paris will offer important works by international artists including those of the most renowned Chinese, Russian and Indian names. Works of Anita Dube, Bose Krishnamachari and Sohan Qadri will be offered together with a particularly emblematic sculpture of Subodh Gupta, considered as the Indian Damien Hirst,” Herve Pedriolle, Indian Art Consultant at Artcurial, told ET in an email from Paris.

“In this sale, a major work of Jivya Soma Mashe, the legendary Indian tribal artist (Warli) will also be presented,” he added.

On estimates front, Anita Dube’s From the Family Album “Bibbo” is pegged at e9,000-10,000. The work was earlier exhibited at the Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, in a 2003 solo show of the artist. Together with Dube, Bose Krishnamachari’s Stretched Bodies is hovering at a pre-sale value of e40,000-60,000.

Mashe’s work, The Ant, is placed at e5,000-7,000. Keeping these contemporary artists company, Subodh Gupta’s Vehicle for the Seven Seas is priced in the bracket of e1,50,000-2,00,000. “In this work, Subodh Gupta focuses on recent changes in the ordinary rural milieu from where he came.

In this poor, traditional society, each individual is suddenly faced with the precarious nature of the migratory movements. Of incessant comings and goings between the country and the city. In this infinitely distended outdoor space, baggage replaces intimacy,” Mr Perdriolle said.

He went on to say: “The success of the inaugural Indian auction in December 2007, which registered e1.418 million sales, and the rise of interest in Indian art in Europe gave Artcurial the confidence in the strategy of staging a standalone Indian Modern & Contemporary art sale in Paris each year. In addition, Artcurial International Contemporary Art auctions held four times a year will feature leading artists from the most notably vibrant and emerging art scene. It will be an opportunity to discover the best of Indian art such as the work of Subodh Gupta this time.”

According to him, auctions are one of the best places to reach an international audience and swing strong results. Only the most attractive and emblematic works can achieve these goals. In the first Indian auction by Artcurial, several records were set by artists like Viswanadhan, Bose Krishnamachari, Manjunath Kamath and Mashe. The famous SH Raza had topped this sale with an all-time French record.

mercredi 2 avril 2008

China becomes world's 3rd largest art auction market

Source: AFP, April 2

China's art market overtook France's for the first time last year, according to figures released by Art Price on Monday.

According to Art Price's 2007 data comprising sales of fine arts works - paintings, drawings and photographs - the global art market saw an overall rise for the seventh year running, with revenue up 43.8 per cent on the previous year.

The rise was driven by a substantially higher number of sales above the million-dollar line - 1,254 compared with 810 in 2006.

"2007 was therefore a veritable annus mirabilis for the art market," Art Price said.

Christie's generated 38.7 per cent of world art sales, followed by Sotheby's with 36 per cent, Phillips De Pury with 2.6 per cent, China's Poly International Auction at 1.8 per cent, China Guardian at 1.0 per cent and French arthouse Artcurial with 0.9 per cent.

New York kept its position as the world's auction leader with a 41.7 per cent market share, while London generated 30 per cent of art market revenue - a two-point increase on the previous year.

France - with 6.4 per cent - fell from its traditional third place, outdone for the first time by China, which accounted for 7.3 per cent of world sales after a whopping 78 per cent rise, including 75 sales above the million-dollar line.

"Sustained by rapidly growing domestic demand and rising star artists commanding rocketing prices, China is capable of competing with New York and London on sales of fine art," the report said.

"China's arrival as a major player in the art world has proved even more spectacular on the particularly buoyant and highly competitive contemporary art segment."

The French art market, on the other hand, was "fossilising and appears to have gradually settled into a niche specialising in primitive photography, 19th Century paintings and art deco," the report said.

World passion for contemporary works was best underlined by last year's top selling artist, pop art star Andy Warhol - who for the first time in a decade outsold Picasso.

"This event reflects a veritable sea change," said Art Price, following the taste for Impressionist masters in the 1990s, followed by moderns such as Picasso or Gustave Klimt in the following decade.

The top 10 artists were Warhol ($US422 million), Picasso ($US320 million), Francis Bacon ($US245 million), Mark Rothko ($US207 million), Claude Monet ($US165 million), Henri Matisse ($US114 million), Jean-Michel Basquiat ($US102 million), Fernand Leger ($US92 million), Marc Chagall ($US89 million) and Paul Cezanne ($US87 million).

2008 may not be as bright, however.

"The art market is unlikely to remain immune to the weaker health of the global economy or to strong turbulence on financial markets," Art Price said.

mardi 1 avril 2008

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