CRANSTON, RI — Paintings by two renowned Indian artists took top honors at Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers’ online fine art and antiques auction held Nov. 15. A work by B. Prabha (1933-2001), titled Painting of Indian womenclimbed to $38,750, while a Cubist figurative watercolor by Maqbool Fida Husain (1915-2011), depicting a couple on horseback, fetched $10,625.
Both artists have appeared in past Bruneau & Co. auctions. In September, a Cubist oil on canvas by Husain, depicting a rider on the back of a wild horse, sold for $43,750. In March 2020, an equestrian themed watercolor on paper by Husain made $16,250. In this same auction, a figurative oil on canvas by B. Prabha, titled Woman with basket of pears, grossed $11,875.
B. Prabha’s painting at the November auction was the best expected lot, but it still exceeded its estimate by $15,000-20,000 to be sold to an enthusiastic bidder. The work depicted six Indian women with their hair tied back and their limbs long, walking through a village, measuring 30 ½ inches by 77 ½ inches. It was signed by Prabha’s agent, Nayana Sarmalkar, and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
“It’s always nice to see appreciation for a beautiful painting, as the Prabha exceeded estimate and sold to a collector in Illinois,” said Kevin Bruneau, president and auctioneer of Bruneau & Co. The painting was by far the best achievement of the more than 325 lots in the auction.
Husain’s watercolor depicted a man and a woman dressed in bright polychrome outfits on the back of a white horse. Installed in a 33-by-27-inch frame, it sold within the estimate. Nicknamed “the Picasso of India”, Husain began painting billboards in India, but quickly developed his own style by mixing folk, tribal and mythological arts.
The auction featured fine items drawn from leading estates and collections across New England, including fine art, decorative arts, collectibles, Asian arts and other items. .
“The competition on the internet was fierce,” said Travis Landry, an auctioneer from Bruneau & Co.. “It was a great auction to end 2021. The final two auctions will be Historic Arms and Militaria, then Comic , Toy, TCG & Sports on December 11 before the holidays. It was a great year for us.
Here are more highlights from the auction. Internet bidding was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com, Invaluable.com, Bidsquare.com, bidLIVE.Bruneauandco.com and the Bruneau mobile app on iTunes or GooglePlay. All prices quoted include buyer’s premium.
A mixed media portrait mounted on canvas, signed by Han Van Meegeren (Dutch, 1889-1947), of a man in a robe holding his chest as he gazes into the distance, 73 inches by 33 inches, finished at 5,938 $. Meegeren was known for his forgeries of famous works by Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch, Gerard ter Borch and Johannes Vermeer, among other artists.
A large late 19th/early 20th century rectangular French Malles Goyard steamer trunk that opened to a removable tray with two lidded compartments fetched $5,312. The trunk was marked “Malles Goyard 233 Rue Saint Honoré Paris Monte Carlo Biarritz” on a metal label and “Goyard” on the top of the lid. Each side bore the initials “HC” in red letters.
An Odd Fellows taxidermy baboon hand lamp, made in the United States in the late 19th or early 20th century, measuring 22 ¾ inches high, changed hands for $4,375 (beating its estimate of $250 at $400). The taxidermy baboon hand was wrapped in dark purple velvet inside a clock case decorated with acanthus leaves and a brass eye. The Odd Fellows were an apolitical, nonsectarian fraternal order founded in 1819 in Baltimore by Thomas Wildey.
A magnificent Chinese Art Deco rug, made circa 1920 and measuring 11ft 7in by 9ft 2in, depicting a blue, green, yellow, red and purple pictorial landscape on a red field surrounded by blue borders, sold to a determined bidder for $4,062. It also easily beat its $800-$1,200 estimate by about four times, despite some minor wear.
Lots 1, 2 and 3 were Circus Banners, led by Lot 1, titled This strange creature Obby Dobby Alive by Fred G. Johnson (American, 1892-1990), considered the greatest circus banner artist in history. The banner, 7ft 10in by 9ft 7in, featured a large, brightly painted iguana in a jungle setting. It cost $3,750.
For the same amount, an early 20th century German-made F&R Enders 4/4 violin, with a label marked “F&R Enders Reproduction of Nicholas Gagliano” on the inside. The instrument, one of many for sale, featured a spruce face with a blackened fingerboard and chin rest. The back consisted of a single piece of tiger maple.
Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers is still accepting quality submissions for future auctions, with commissions as low as zero percent. This would be the perfect time to clean out your attic. To contact Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers regarding the consignment of a single piece or an entire collection, you can email [email protected]. Or, you can call them at 401-533-9980.
To learn more about Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers and the firm’s calendar of upcoming events, please visit www.bruneauandco.com. Updates are released frequently.
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