Rare paintings, books auctioned at Prinseps

Prinseps’ recent back-to-back online auctions for books and prints saw strong results across the board with the bidding time extended on multiple lots in the prints auction due to a flurry of last minute bids. The auctions highlighted Prinseps’ ongoing success in the spaces of rare collectables and modern Indian art. The ​prints auction​, which went live from 10 to 11 September made a total of ​Rs 47,26,800 (including buyers’ premium) highlights included ​Somnath Hore’s ​Wounds selling for double the high estimate, with the winning bid at Rs 9,00,000. The work is part of the artist’s paper pulp print series from his experiments in the 1970s.​ Wounds represent the theme of war, starvation and human suffering, that carry resonance in today’s challenging climate.

Other highlights of the sale included prints by leading modernists VS Gaitonde, Francis Newton Souza and MF Husain, all selling for well over their high estimates with​ MF Husain’s​Untitled (Figures With Tree) of particular note selling for Rs 3,84,000 — almost double the high estimate. The colourful print reflects Husain’s work which often blends folk, tribal and mythological motifs to create vibrantly contemporary art forms.

The Rare Books Auction saw 52 lots from the estate of renowned collector Sunil Baboo, sell for a total of Rs 33,23,400 (including buyers’ premium), with particular interest in Luis De Camoens, ​The Lusiad Or The Discovery Of India (1809), which saw particularly heavy building before selling at Rs 2,04,000. The three volumes, printed for Lackington, Allen and Co. London describes Vasco Da Gama’s journey to India and had previously been owned by art collector Edward Cheney (1803-1884) of Badger Hall, in Shropshire.

James Grant’s, ​Cassell’s History of India also saw a lot of interest selling for Rs 66,000 over four times its initial estimate​. The book includes ​numerous engravings of various parts of India alongside James Grant’s depiction of the history of India.

Prinseps have recently launched their online store​, a marketplace for exclusive luxury, specialising in direct sales of items such as jewellery, books, carpets, and premium design on a continuous basis, outside of the curated and scheduled online auction.


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