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In the News

Giacometti's Walking Man 1
clinches the highest ever bid in the history of world Art Auction

Swiss modern sculptor Alberto Giacometti's rare work L'homme qui Marche (Walking Man 1) fetched the highest ever price in any art auction around the globe. The sculpture was sold at a record price of $104,327,006 to an anonymous telephone bidder from Sotheby's London on 3rd February. 10 bidders competed for this masterpiece from Giacometti. The presale estimate of the sculpture was £ 18 million, but all the anticipations proved to be wrong when Giacometti's Walking Man 1 surpassed the previous record of Picasso's famous painting Garcon a la Pipe (Boy with a pipe) which was sold at $104,168,000 from Sotheby's, London. Picasso's painting was also sold from Sotheby's London in 2004. This outstanding feat achieved by Walking Man 1 draws the attention of the collectors towards quality purchase.

Previously, Jackson Pollock's painting of 1948 achieved a price of US $150.6mn in 2006 followed by William de Kooning's work titled 'Woman 3' which was sold at US $ 147.9mn in the same year. Before Giacometti's sculpture was sold in 2010, the highest ever price was fetched by the work titled 'The Guennol Lioness', done by an unknown artist sold at US $57.2 million in 2007


Art Hotel to come up in India

During the 1950s and 60s, stalwarts from the fields of music and literature thronged The Hotel Chelsea in New York because it was cheap. But sometimes it was hard for them to pay the bills, so they left their art work there to compensate the rent.

The Hotel Chelsea is one of the original art hotels that sprang up during the 60s and after that a number of hotels emerged in different parts of the world. Among them, Colombe d'Or Hotel in Provence deserves mention because the walls of the hotels are embellished by the paintings of Picasso and Matisse. It was once the favourite hang- out- cum- studio place for the artists.

In India, the three storied Le Sutra hotel owned by the Bajaj family will get its name enrolled in this category very soon but with a class of its own. The three stories illustrate the three universal 'gunas' or forms of energy which constitute a person. The Sattvic floor (on the third level) has been designed in a way to go with the Sattva trait. This floor has got simple detailing like the Mandu self-purification water system. The other two floors are named Rajas and Tamas where the former would have a fervent look accompanied by a shringar or mirror room and the Tamas floor would have erotic details like a chair influenced by Ravana. However the Sattvic floor has only been completed. The hotel has been inspired by yoga, ayurveda, Indian Mythology, culture and the enriched Indian history and the aim of the hotel is to depict all these notions through contemporary art. Le Sutra's exterior walls have a mural painted by Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and painter Vincent Fantauzzo, where deaf children from an NGO also participated. The hotel would be open for the public from March, 2010.


Pre-Valentine's Day Bash of Calcutta Wine Club

Love was definitely not the only thing that was in the air at the pre-Valentine's Day bash of the Calcutta Wine Club. The aroma of exotic wines and freshly barbequed kebabs, whiff of perfumes, fragrance of flowers and the strains of mellifluous music wafting languidly, greeted the 42-odd members of the Calcutta Wine Club who enjoyed the balmy evening at an open air barbeque party. Organized at the residence of one of the expat members of the Club, Yann Dunlop, the party was attended by Ravi Shastri who is an honorary member of the club.

The high point of the evening was a screening of the film Mondovino, a documentary film on the impact of globalization on the world's different wine-producing regions. Directed by American film maker Jonathan Nossiter, the film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and a Caesar Award. The screening was followed by an animated discussion session on the film by the members.

The wine tasted at the evening was a white wine from Spain and a red wine from Italy to go with an elaborate spread of delectable Indian delicacies comprising of Murgh Chakori Kebab, Murgh Malai Kebab, Chiken Tikka, Machchi Kali Mirch, Fish Tikka, Mutton Sheekh Kebab, Mushroom Moti Kebab, Paneer Tikka, Vegetable Shaslik etc. Good food, great wine in the company of like-minded friends, the concept of an open-air wine dinner was an instant hit and the members were kept asking for an encore.


Golden Jubilee Celebration of Society of Contemporary Artists

Society of Contemporary Artists is a communion of likeminded painters, printmakers and sculptors who have relentlessly striven for the last fifty- years for the sake of art. From the end of the 1950s to the most recent and extreme stages the grant has endeavoured to define contemporary trends and structures of modernism of the last century and the post modern inclinations of the 21st century. The group has been keen to contribute to the mainstream Indian art of recent times in ways that have been diverse, controversial and revolutionary. It has always projected the image of man's constant search of himself and his insistence of personal freedom in visual artistic terms, in an innovative and experimental fashion.

Now, Society of Contemporary Artists is celebrating its Golden Jubilee throughout the year 2010, beginning from 12th August, 2009 at Akar Prakar where small format works of all the members were displayed. This was followed by the Grand Annual Show in association with Birla Academy from 8th to 27 December at Birla Academy, Kolkata. A sculpture show was organized at Aakriti Art Gallery from 14 to 31st December, where all the sculptors as well as the non sculptors participated with their works. After that an exhibition was hosted by Mahua Art Gallery, Bangalore from 23rd January to 15 February,2010. This was followed by the Golden Jubilee show at Rabindra Bhavan, New Delhi from 16th to 22nd February, 2010 sponsored by Gallery Art Pilgrim. The forthcoming shows of SCA are going to be held at Chitrakoot Art Gallery during April,2010, small format works at SCA studio in August,2010, Golden Jubilee show at Jehangir Art Gallery from 18th to 24th October,2010, Graphics show at Akar Prakar in August and the closing ceremony at Birla Academy in December, 2010.


Birthday celebration

Kolkata, 16th February : Nandimukh, a magazine on art and literature organized a revelry on the occasion of eminent artist Jogen Chowdhury's birthday at the Stadel Hotel on16th February, 2010. It was a wonderful evening where many likeminded people thronged the hotel lawn and discussed art and culture and various other topics. The artists who were present on the occasion included Rabin Mondal, Atul Dodiya, Tapas Konar, Anita Roy Chowdhury along with Jogen Chowdhury and others. Director of Aakriti Art Gallery, Vikram Bachhawat, art critic Pranabranjan Ray also graced the occasion. Tapan Bhattacharyya gave a speech on Jogen Chowdhury's works and slide show of the artist's works was also shown. Jogen Chowdhury was a founding member of the magazine Nandimukh which was first published in 1961.


Controversy over Souza's painting

Authentication of an art work by the family members of the artist has proved to be fatal at times. The most recent of this kind of stained incident has been the one when India's highest priced artist F N Souza's son dated a work of the master to the 70s when it was of more recent origin. This was done in order to fetch more importance for the art work because that was the most valuable period of Souza's opus. Another such instance is there where three works came from the family of an artist dated 1958-62 done on polyester waterproof canvas which was selected at first but later sent back because the fabric of the canvas was of more recent origin than the date which had previously been stated for the art work. However this time, Saffronart director has assured that one of the rare works of Souza that would come up in the spring auction in March would be authenticated by tracing its provenance and not by any family member of Souza. The scholars from the field of art also think that authentication done by tracing the provenance is more justified and scientific rather than the same being done by family members and acquaintances.


Controversy over Edgar Dega's moulds

Edgar Degas was once quoted as saying "What I fear most is not dust but the hand of man." He said that maybe because he feared improper handling of his works in future and his fear proved to be true, 93 years after his death in 1917. A controversy is now churning among Degas experts over some 74 recently discovered plaster casts of his sculptures that were supposedly made during his life time, and the bronze sculptures that have been produced from them. The plasters were said to have been found among the inventory of the Valsuani foundry, outside Paris, by Leonardo Benatov, who bought the business in 1980.

At the core of the storm is a plaster cast of the Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans (Little Dancer Aged 14), which is now entrenched on the fifth floor of Hirschl & Adler Galleries in New York. Many scholars believe that an expert artisan might have created that after the death of the artist but the admirers are of the belief that it is an extremely precious work created by Dagas during his life time.

To be sure, the "lifetime plaster" of the Little Dancer resembles the familiar Little Dancer, but certain details such as the face, the collarbones, the arrangement of the legs, the hairis different, according to a number of Degas experts. A closed door meeting was held in New York on January 19 to discuss the matter. The group is still pondering whether to make a public testimonial about the authenticity of the “recently discovered” plasters, or to stay silent and let the word leach sluggishly into the art market.


“Let's bring the gym into the kitchen”, Preity says.

Preity Zinta, Bollywood star, movie lovers' heart throb dazzled the evening of 20th February, 2010 at Hyatt Regency, Kolkata, dropping in as a coveted guest of Emami Group as well as the brand ambassador of their new product “Healthy & Tasty” edible oil. It was an unforgettable experience to have watched her launch the brand in the inspiring presence of Aditya V. Agarwal, Director, Emami Group, Manish Goenka, Director, Emami Group & Saroj Chakraborty, C.E.O., Foods Division, Emami Group. Mamta Kalra and Arup Ratan Lala deftly tackled the task of corporate communications there. Preity Zinta said on this subject, “I am thrilled to become the ambassador for Emami's edible oil brand.” Preity Zinta threw light on another interesting and relevant subject how health and fitness problem can be solved in the tied-up middle class families today.



Breaking Boundaries

Kolkata : Astad Deboo, born in 1947 in Navsari, Gujarat, received training in Kathak dance under Guru Prahlad Das in Kolkata and in Kathakali under Guru E K Panicker. After that he attended the London School of Contemporary Dance learning Martha Graham's modern dance technique and learnt Jose Limon's technique in New York. He has experimented with an array of forms, themes, models and performance spaces and has collaborated with other dancers, composers and designers to create pioneering works of artistic value. Recently Astad was in town for a dance performance by the students of Salaam Balak Trust, New Delhi in collaboration with Astad Deboo Dance Foundation and G.D Birla Sabhaghar. The show held on 23rd February, 'Breaking Boundaries', choreographed by Astad Deboo, was well received by the packed audience.


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