On September 21, a live auction of 85 lots, carefully selected by a pioneering collector who helped to advance the field of modern and contemporary South Asian art in Asia, will be auctioned at Christie’s Rockefeller Center in New York
July 21, 2022: Christie’s has announced Centering The Figure: South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art From The Collection Of Romi Lamba, which includes works by Maqbool Fida Husain, Arpita Singh, Manjit Bawa, Jogen Chowdhury, Atul Dodiya, Anju Dodiya, Anjolie Ela Menon and Dayanita Singh in New York. The art works will travel to Christie’s Mumbai in August, followed by viewings in London, before returning to New York in September for Christie’s annual Asian Art Week preview and auctions.
Nishad Avari, Head of Sale, South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art, Christie’s, said: “Romi Lamba began collecting thirty years ago, a time when the best of the best was still available. The depth, breadth and quality of the objects in this collection are a testament to Romi Lamba’s discerning eye, and prescience in seeing the brilliance of this art before the market fully took notice.”
The works in this auction, with a particular focus on narrative figuration, celebrate a rich range of artistic practices from the South Asian subcontinent across the last century.
An avid collector, the Indian-born Mr. Lamba went from university in Philadelphia to his longtime home in Hong Kong. His journey started with antiques before moving on to Japanese ceramics, South Asian textiles, and in the mid-1990s, modern and contemporary South Asian art. Mr. Lamba recalls, “In 1994 we moved to Hong Kong and began to collect Indian contemporary art. Certain behaviours were now ingrained. A connection to my home country: a diaspora’s magnet. Research, focus and discipline. The paintings we hung on our wall would only be Indian [...] This was a nascent market; new books on Indian art were being published every month, augmenting my collection on rugs and shawls. We found ourselves buying bigger bookshelves [...] We chose from photographs mailed by Indian galleries before the shows opened, sometimes nabbing a sought-after artist sight unseen over the phone.”
The selection of works featured in this sale adorned every corner of his home, which he described as “a home masquerading as an art gallery.” Now, as he begins to downsize in preparation for the next phase of his collecting journey, a group of these works, assembled with care and brilliance, are available to a new generation of collectors who can take a cue from the passion and precision of Mr. Lamba.