|ARPITA SINGHWish Dream, 2001, Oil on canvas, 287 x 159 in|
NEW DELHI: The leading ladies of Indian art seem to be on a roll. Just five months after Bharti Kher's elephant sculpture fetched a record Rs 6.9 crore, Delhi artist Arpita Singh is set to establish a new high. The sale of her mural — estimated at Rs 8-10 crore — will make her the country's top-selling woman artist.
The 16-panel mural, an impressive 24 ft x 13 ft in size, will go under the hammer on December 9 at the Saffronart winter auction. Thus far, women artists were not in the all-male charmed circle of sky-high prices.
Both Kher and Singh are changing that. So in art, as in life, does gender matter? Not for the flamboyant Amrita Shergil , the first to reach the crore-mark, but then came a slump. Says Dinesh Vazirani of Saffronart, "During the era of the Moderns, male artists such as those from the Bombay Progressive group dominated the art scene."
In a way, it's fitting that Arpita Singh has turned the spotlight back on female artists. The unbeautiful middle-aged woman has always been a central figure in her paintings. "I begin by painting a figure and it turns out to be a woman," Singh said.
The work going on sale has two women as pivotal figures, both elevated to goddess-like beings that seem to hold together and direct the rest of the painting's diverse cast of characters and everyday objects.
Times of India 16 Novermber, 2010
Bharti Kher's Elephant