5 Places that Shaped S H Raza’s Career

Saffronart’s Winter Online Auction on 9 – 10 December 2019 features three significant paintings that chart the trajectory of S H Raza’s career. We take a look at some of the places that influenced this seminal artist.

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Ram Kumar and the Bombay Progressives

Ipshita Sen of Saffronart announces the upcoming exhibition of the Bombay Progressive artists at the Aicon Gallery, New York

New York: Aicon Gallery in New York presents ‘Ram Kumar and the Bombay Progressives: The Form and the Figure’.

Ram Kumar’s works, from his figurative to city and landscape, reflect his emotional world. His landscapes have a subtle lyricism and lively buoyancy, thus defining his artistic oeuvre.

“When I paint, I don’t think about any specific elements- be they spiritual or supernatural elements of nature. They are paintings –pure simple, plain, painted color propositions, emerging from one’s past experiences” -Ram Kumar

As a student in Paris, Kumar had several interactions with poets and intellectuals, who influenced him and his work greatly. He studied art under Andre Lhote and Fernand Léger. Attracted by the Pacifist peace movement, Kumar joined the French Communist Party, thereby seeking inspiration from Social Realists such as Käthe Kollwitz. His artistic approach was centered on a humanist rather than an ideological approach; Sad figures with gaunt expressions and starry eyes, painted against the backdrop of an industrialized ambience, reflected by the almost monochromatic use of a limited color palette. Ram Kumar currently lives and works in Delhi, India.

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The exhibition also features works by M.F. Hussain, S.H. Raza and F.N. Souza, all founding members of the Bombay Progressive Group.

The exhibition is on view from September 13th- October 19th, 2013

For more information, please access the gallery website.

The Story is Live!

Sneha Sikand of Saffronart on the launch of a new website for curated collections of beautiful and hard to find objects

New Delhi: The Storya new website by Saffronart, where you can browse, learn about and acquire desirable objects ranging from fine art, home accessories to jewels and timepieces has just launched. What is interesting is that the collections are not necessarily what you usually find in a Saffronart auction. Understanding the desire for people to acquire items that appease their aesthetic sensibilities, The Story by Saffronart has put together a mix of age-old tradition and innovation in its collections.

S.H. Raza, Maa…
Serigraphy on paper
Image credit: http://www.saffronstory.com

The artwork collections comprise limited edition serigraphs and prints from masters of the modern art world, both Indian and international, as well as revivals of traditional forms such as Bundi miniature paintings, and as Mithila paintings from Bihar.

Copperplate engraving, Gastaldi’s new map of India
Image credit: http://www.saffronstory.com

Other collections range from beautifully crafted Chinese wedding baskets, to an exceptional set of antiquarian maps dating to the 16th century that chart India through the eyes of European explorers and cartographers. Objects available in ‘The Story’ are listed on the website for a limited period of time.

While every collection on The Story is unique, together they represent the meeting of tradition and innovation, age-old craftsmanship and contemporary design. Each collection has been put together around a narrative; an account of a culture, place, custom, genre or technique. Some of these stories have also been woven around the aesthetic sensibilities, experiences and memories of highly regarded individuals- The Story’s discerning tastemakers – who have agreed to share their knowledge, collecting experience and good taste with you through the collections they curate.

Collections from The Story are now available and can be viewed and purchased on the website saffronstory.com.

Serigraphy: A Word of Advice for New Collectors

Amy Lin of Saffronart explores the benefits of collecting limited edition serigraphs for new collectors

New York: The questions “What should I collect?” and “Where should I begin?” come up very often for collectors looking at modern Indian art for the first time. Of course, there are the great masters, M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, V.S. Gaitonde and others, but originals cost a small fortune and are quite difficult to come by. So what can an aspiring young collector do?

Serigraph making process
Image Credit: http://www.archerindia.com

One possible starting point is serigraphs. Later this week, The Story by Saffronart will be featuring a collection of signed, limited edition serigraphs from modern Indian masters such as Husain, S.H. Raza and Thota Vaikuntam. It is a wonderful opportunity for young collectors to purchase works by renowned artists at affordable prices. Now, your next question will probably be: Seri-what?

Serigraphy is an English printing technique pioneered in the early 20th century. It’s similar to silk screening or screen printing, where a stencil is used to print directly on the paper. The stencil is made by stretching porous fabric over a wooden or metallic frame. Next, the printer will use paper or fabric to block off the image’s negatives. The stenciled screen is then placed over the printed medium while oil or water based ink is spread evenly across the screen. Finally, the artist uses a rubber squeegee to press the ink through the porous fabric and onto the paper below. If the artwork requires a different colour, the print is allowed to dry before another colour or stencil is applied. Here is a step by step demo of the process.

The result from this laborious process is a fine quality print that rivals the original but costs a fraction of the price. While a Husain original could easily fetch over $100,000, an authorized and signed serigraph print by the artist will only cost 3-5% of the price.

Skeptics may argue that investing in reproductions is not worth it. But many would agree that serigraphs are fine artworks in their own right. Each serigraph print differs slightly from the next, picking up subtle nuances in character and attitude through the printing process. In addition, most artists will print their serigraphs in limited, numbered editions, enhancing their exclusivity.

M F Husain designing a serigraphy scroll
Image Credit: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story

Husain was one of the artists who championed the artistic value of serigraphs by collaborating with Anil Reila, founder of Ahmedabad’s Archer Art Gallery. In 2000, Husain designed his own serigraph scrolls and had 500 editions of his Ashtha Vinayak made. This ambitious project was a great success and the prints sold out within days. Husain viewed his art with a populous mentality, always wanting to ensure it would be accessible and affordable to as many as possible. Other galleries such as the Serigraph Studio have legitimized serigraphy as a true art form by holding exhibitions exclusively of these prints.

Perhaps it’s the linear nature of Indian art that makes it suitable for printing or its bold colours that beckon for reproduction. Either way, serigraph prints are an excellent point for young collectors to start their journeys with Indian art. As Relia puts it in an interview with India Today, “The value rises when the edition is sold out and availability becomes scarce.” And later adds, “With Indian art now getting appreciation and applause everywhere, it is important that people have easy access to art prints by the great artists of our country.”

In Memoriam: Maqbool Fida Husain and his Writings

Sneha Sikand of Saffronart on a programme organised to commemorate the first death anniversary of the artist


New Delhi: To mark one year since his demise, friends and well wishers gathered at the India International Centre (IIC) for a rather special programme. Celebrated world over for his artworks, only a handful of people actually knew of his interest in poetry and prose. Harf va Naksh, a diary maintained by Husain contains a collection of unsent letters, abstract drawings, and poetry in Urdu, Hindi and English. Found in the private collection of author Krishna Baldev Vaid, it was gifted to him over forty years ago by Husain himself.

Organised by the Raza Foundation, excerpts from the late artist’s diary were read out by his contemporaries and friends, Syed Haider Raza and Krishen Khanna among others. Read more about the event here.