Saffronart became the first professional auction house, which is to be appointed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Mumbai to auction seized assets. ‘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 artworks by leading modern and contemporary Indian artists. 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 contemporaries 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. Since from 1972, the blue painting which was 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 Rs 2-3 crore.