Artworks by modern Indian artist Gobardhan Ash will go under the hammer at India’s first ever NFT auction early next year.
Hosted by Mumbai-based auction house Prinseps, the live sale titled, "Gobardhan Ash Auction” will offer 35 rare works on paper by the artist, alongside 35 accompanying NFTs (non-fungible tokens).
The auction will offer each of Ash’s physical works on paper, immediately followed by its accompanying digital versions offered as NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) minted on the Ethereum blockchain.
While the physical works on paper carry an estimate of Rs 30,000 - 1,50,000, the NFTs are estimated at Rs 1,000 - 25,000, offering accessible prices to newer collectors exploring the NFT market for the first time.
According to the auction house, the sale will recreate the second exhibition of the Progressive Artists’ Group and Calcutta Group held in 1950, in which Ash presented a series of gouache works alongside FN Souza, MF Husain and SH Raza amongst others.
In the works that were exhibited at the show, and will now be part of the Prinseps auction, Ash captured the quintessential life of the time through his modernist interpretations.
“Ash’s art from the 1950s showcases his individuality alongside his characteristic technique and presents impeccable character studies such as the painting, ‘Mother and Son’ (1948),'' the auction house said.
It added that the significantly lower prices of the corresponding NFTs of the physical artworks made them accessible to newer collectors exploring the NFT market for the first time.
Two Sisters (1950). Image courtesy of Prinseps
Key works include "Tribhanga" (1950), which depicts a common stance in traditional Indian art and popular Indian dance forms such as the Odissi, “FA-HI-AN” (1948), which depicts an avatar of a Chinese Buddhist monk who travelled by foot from China to India to study Buddhist texts, and “Mosgul” (1949), which depicts a man lost in thought and was exhibited in the Joint Exhibition of the Calcutta Group and the Progressive Artists’ Group, 1950.
“Ash’s paintings struck me as bearing a resemblance to the crypto punk movement, but from seven decades earlier. We are delighted to be presenting what we see today as an avatar, painted in Ash’s unique and primitive watercolours more than seventy years ago.
“These works will also represent the first NFTs offered on the market by an Indian auction house, making this a ground breaking sale for us,” said Prinseps curator Indrajit Chatterjee.
The auction will open on January 14, 2022.