Ahead of the online art auction to be scheduled on November 7 and 8, fine art auctioneers Bid & Hammer (B&H) organised its Delhi preview at Delhi’s Shangri-la’s Eros Hotel on Friday. The event which featured and titled Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Indian Art, brought forth many distinct pieces.
Ankush Dadha, director, Bid & Hammer, spoke with The Morning Standard on the forthcoming auction while highlighting some of the major roadblocks for the business.
What are the major highlights of this auction?
Manjit Bawa’s trademark work depicting a lady with parrot and MF Husain’s 1977 acrylic-on-canvas that was done at the peak of his obsession with Horses along with a stellar work of St. Gonsalo Garcia, a missionary turned merchant to first saint of India, attributed to the painter price Raja Ravi Varma are our top draws. Paintings by J Swaminathan, a 1950’s exclusive oil-on-paper by VS Gaitonde and rare paintings on jute fabric by FN Souza along with a mosaic style watercolour by NS Bendre, both from the same period, will interest all the serious collectors.
When and how Bid & Hammer was set up?
B&H was set up over a decade ago with a multi-disciplinary team of experts when the domestic auction scene only had a couple of players offering just paintings. Our objective was to not only further develop the market in this category but also expand it by introducing auctions covering the entire gamut of fine art, antiques, jewellery, memorabilia and collectables.
How did you venture into auction business?
Coming from a family with a very rich history and entrepreneurial background, and having grown up with art all around me, it was a natural desire to take the legacy of my family and in particular my father forward. Having been a collector, connoisseur and specialist in colonial and modern Indian art, he encouraged me and my brother to get involved in setting up an auction house that would cater to all types of collectors.
What are the major challenges an auctioneer experiences?
Lack of clarity on part of bidders on the lots they want to bid on or the price points they are willing to go upto, time lags when there are simultaneously online and tele bids along with floor bidders, lack of interest in a star lot and on the other hand over zealousness on part of bidders to acquire a lot. or multiple bidders who keep outbidding each other resulting in auctions that take 4-5 hours to complete.
Other names in B&H’s auction roster
FN Souza, GR Iranna, Jamini Roy, KK Hebbar, Laxman Pai, Rabindranath Tagore, Ramkinkar Baij, Thota Vaikuntam, VS Gaitonde, among others.