Sotheby to auction Danish family’s ‘unseen’ Indian collection
A never-before-seen collection of modern Indian art, including artworks by master artists VS Gaitonde and Ram Kumar, will go under hammer for first time at Sotheby’s in London on September 29
A never-before-seen collection of modern Indian art, including unpublished artworks by master artists VS Gaitonde and Ram Kumar, will go under the hammer for the first time at Sotheby’s in London on September 29.
Gunnar Hansen and his wife Inger made Mumbai their home, where Gunnar worked for Larsen & Toubro for over 20 years. They moved from Denmark to India in 1953, and acquired their passion for modern Indian painting. Ishrat Kanga, Head of Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art Sale, describes the collection as a “hidden gem”.
“All of the paintings offered here have rarely been seen in public, if ever, before. The pieces were acquired by the Hansens in India in the 1960s and 1970s, soon after leaving the artist’s studios and have been treasured by the family for some 40 to 50 years.”
One of their first purchases was an exquisite red, orange, black and ochre Untitled canvas by V.S. Gaitonde, estimated at Euro 1.5 - 2 million (roughly Rs 14 crore- Rs 19 (crore), which Hansen bought after “test driving” it for a few days in his house as a loan in 1969 before making the purchase. Another is a Ram Kumar painting from the same year, hung in their dining room. The painting is accompanied by a personal letter from the artist in which he asks for copies of a greeting card Hansen had produced with the image of the work.
Other important artists represented in the Hansen collection include Krishen Khanna, Mohan Samant and Piraji Sagara, and are offered alongside long-overlooked artists like Nareen Nath, Triloke Kaul, Homi B. Patel, S.R. Bhusan and Sanat Thaker.
The collection includes 18 works in total by 15 artists and is estimated at Euros 1,799,000 - 2,401,000, where the upper estimate translates to almost Rs 23 crore. The sale also offers a selection of works from the estates of Bhupen Khakhar and Patwant Singh.
The sale will be on public exhibition from September 25-29 at Sotheby’s London.