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New Delhi, February 21, 2020
Last month, Saffronart became the first professional auction house to be appointed by the Enforcement Directorate, Mumbai to auction seized assets. Two sales -- "Spring Live Auction" in Mumbai on February 27 and "Spring Online Auction" on March 3 and 4 will feature a total of 112 lots seized from fugitive businessman Nirav Modi, including significant art works by leading modern and contemporary Indian artists, and a selection of luxury watches, handbags and cars.
The Spring Live Auction will feature 40 lots, of which 15 are artworks. Leading the sale is a 1935 masterpiece by one of the most important Indian artists of the 20th century, Amrita Sher-Gil, titled Boys with Lemons, estimated at Rs 12-18 crore.
The painting, which will appear on the auction market for the first time, was probably painted while Sher-Gil was back at her family home in Simla and represents a time when she was trying to carve out her own identity by exploring subjects deeply rooted in the Indian sentiment.
Another highlight of the live sale is an oil on canvas work from 1972 titled Battle of Ganga and Jamuna: Mahabharata 12 by M. F. Husain, estimated at Rs 12-18 crore. In this work, Husain contemporarises the epic Mahabharata, focusing on the psychological component and the metaphor of internal moral struggles that it represents through the battle between the two rivers.
A serene blue painting by V. S. Gaitonde from 1972, which will also be auctioned, is estimated at Rs 7-9 crore; a vivid red depiction of Krishna by Manjit Bawa estimated at Rs 3-5 crore, and a stunning portrait by Raja Ravi Varma at at Rs 2-3 crore.
Among the 25 luxury collectibles are several important timepieces, including a rare Jaeger-LeCoultre Men's 'Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2' Limited Edition wrist watch, estimated at Rs 55-70 lakh, and a Patek Phillipe Nautilus Gold and Diamond wrist watch, also estimated at Rs 55-70 lakh.
The live sale will feature several branded handbags, including the iconic Birkin and Kelly lines by French luxury goods manufacturer Hermes.
A Rolls-Royce Ghost, estimated at Rs 75-95 lakh will also be auctioned on February 27.
The Spring Online Auction, which will be held on saffronart.com, will comprise a selection of 72 luxury collectibles, with highlights including handbags by brands such as Chanel, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Celine; a Cartier Asymmetric 'Crash' Wristwatch and a Porsche Panamera S car.
This appointment by the Enforcement Directorate comes a year after an auction of seized paintings conducted by Saffronart on behalf of the Income Tax Department in March 2019, which raised Rs 54.84 crore.
Select lots from both auctions will be exhibited at Saffronart's gallery in Mumbai from February 18 to March 4.