Auction house adopts technology for scientific ‘artmosphere’

Shillong, Jan 28: Newly launched art auction house deRivaz & Ives will adopt new scientific examination methods, like technical photographic analysis, in its cataloguing process from the second auction on February 25.

The scientific examination is based on studying the physical characteristics of the painting under different spectra of light. The range is from the visible to the non-visible parts. Each light source enhances different features to be highlighted. The outcome is then interpreted based on an understanding of the medium and technique. Micro and macro images help in highlighting other aspects of material and technique.


Various important paintings underwent this examination, including the baselessly maligned MF. Husain’s ‘Horses playing with the Sun’ (oil on canvas, 1970) painting. This painting has been examined in detail following listed methods of imaging and the observations were noted.

“The main findings are consistent with known attributes of the artist – MF Husain. There is no under-drawing or changes in composition. The painting has been executed over a very short time of one to three sittings. The drawing has been laid with a brown colour strengthened with black,” a press statement said.

Commenting on the decision to bring science to serve the arts, Neville Tuli, Chief Mentor, said, “deRivaz & Ives’ effort to publicly share in-depth scientific examinations of artworks is a paradigm shift in the learning curve for the Indian art market. For over a decade the market has refused or been unable to introduce credible scientific analysis so as to bolster market confidence in the authenticity of important artworks by the modern masters. Many uninformed opinions which gained media traction would have been avoided if even technical photographic analysis had been introduced as part of the due diligence methodology and cataloguing processes.”

“Let us now hope that a new understanding emerges and other institutions also follow this lead. It is expensive, time consuming, requiring top quality expertise but well worth it especially given many collectors now never get to physically examine the artworks in detail for most online sales,” he added.

deRivaz and Ives held its maiden Online Auction of Modern Indian Art last weekend, which auctioned Rs 11.86 crore worth of modern Indian fine arts with Jehangir Sabavala, Prabhakar Barwe and FN Souza leading the way.

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