welcome to collectors mind

This is a forum for sharing knowledge, gaining insights and shaping opinions. We will not sit on the fence here or play favorites. The language of art has changed in a blink of a year– today there are market makers, power brokers, savvy investors, flippers, fakes and fund managers. Collectors are nearly extinct. Why? Because collectors can see and COLLECTORS MIND. So together, let’s take a small step to make today’s buyers into tomorrow’s collectors. The future of art depends on it!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Lives of Others

A good film has the power to engage you while a great film is sure to transport you - to another place and another time. Lives of Others is one such film. Leave aside the fact that it won the Oscar for best foreign film because there is nothing foreign about it, except that all the dialogues are in German. The script is genuinely brilliant, the acting is beyond top class and the cinematography is spot on. This picture is wow all the way to the end, and although I have only just returned from the cinema hall, i know it will remain in my memory for a long time to come. I am not a trained film critic, or a food critic not even an art critic for that matter but rather a collector - of ideas and images and most of all of experiences - all things that leave a lasting impression, that transform the thought and instruct the action. I am also not a wordsmith with the ability to accurately translate thoughts and convey emotions, especially at one in the morning so go watch, and make your own assessment. I have already made mine!

p.s. The only regret I have is that I waited until Monday for this visual treat, and don’t even get me started on the abrupt and mindless censoring by our board…it’s a complete outrage but see it none the less and buy the original DVD and see it again

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Mirror, mirror upon the wall, who is the fairest of all?

Bonhams, Christies and Sotheby’s are all jostling for a share of your wallet this spring. The action begins in Dubai on March 3rd with Bonhams taking the lead with a regionally focused sale that includes Arab, Iranian, Indian and Pakistani art, so lets take a first look at some of the trophies up for grabs in the over cooked market for Indian Modern and Contemporary Art.

Lot no 24, The Elder is the best Souza not only in the Bonhams sale but also edges out lot 18 at Sothebys. Coincidently, both the Souza’s are from 1955, an electric period for the artist during which he produced some of his best works, both the subjects are heads, and both are executed in the same medium. However, this is where the similarities end. For me personally, The Elder is the better buy for several reasons. For one, it is a more powerful image of a slightly angular face with teeth jarring and blood shot eyes. The neck and shoulders are morphed and the jaw descends into the beard, cutting into the body, harmonious to the geometric forms that makeup the entire figure. The image as well as the background is heavily worked on in thick impasto, the estimate is lower ($240,000~300,000 versus $280,000~380,000) and the work is larger than the one in Sothebys. The provenance is also more interesting than ‘various properties’ inscribed on the top of the page. On a slightly seperate note, I have always been baffled by such a nondescript attributions, as it really does not provide any more information on the lineage than if it were simply left blank. Yet, auction houses will regularly use it as a provenance proxy. Anyway, coming back to The Elder, if you have the money to buy and are looking to add a top quality Souza to your collection this one would be my first choice of all that are available across the spring catalogues of Christies Sotheby’s and Bonhams.

There are two interesting landscapes by Jagdish Swaminathan to choose from. Untitled Lot 33 is an extremely attractive work from the bird and mountain series done in contrasting reds, with black and yellow as the other dominant colors in the palate. The only thing that is slightly troubling is that the image looks to me like it is wanting more space...almost like there is a right side to the work that is somehow missing. However, if your eyes are restful and if there is no restoration done (be sure to check the condition report on all Swami’s), it is an attractive work albeit with a stiff estimate of $250,000~350,000 (however, the weak dollar should help offset). Lot 56 also Untitled is noteworthy for the extensive use of his trademark yellow – a color that typified Swaminathan's style and has its roots in folk and tribal art. This is a more complete landscape but arguably not as bold and striking as the earlier work.

Aptly titled Garden of Eden, the image is very compelling as it is captivating. This work is dense and painstakingly executed and transports the viewer to far away lands. Although I have no prior exposure to this artist or his work, this image captured my attention, and considering the detail as well as the size of the work, it seems like a very decent estimate that is sure to spur interest in this marvelously dreamy work by Saud Al-Attar from Iraq

Prabhakar Barwe was a poet, a genius, and also an artist. He must rank right up there amongst the best of the moderns and finding a good work is almost impossible since most of his collectors almost never sell, all of which pushes Huddled Form ,lot 123 in the top five with ease. In this particular work Barwe employs a grid pattern and has his inanimate figures floating within a contained space. The balance and simplicity of form are exemplified in this work. Barring any condition isues, this it is a true collector’s choice.

Mirror, mirror upon the wall, who is the fairest of all?
The mirror answered-
"Thou, O Queen, art the fairest of all,"
and the Queen was contented, because she knew the mirror could speak nothing but the truth....to be continued