CRANSTON, R.I. – Paintings by the renowned Indian artists Maqbool Fida Husain (1915-2011) and B. Prabha (1933-2001) fared so well in past Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers sales that the pair will be back for an encore in the upcoming Estate Fine Art & Antique Auction slated for Monday, November 15, online-only, starting at 6 pm Eastern time. More than 325 lots will come up for bid. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
In September, a dynamic Cubist painting by Husain, depicting a rider on the back of a wild horse, sold for $43,750. Prior to that, in March 2020, an equestrian-themed watercolor on paper by Husain realized $16,250. In that same March auction, a figural oil on canvas by B. Prabha, titled Woman with a Pear Basket, brought $11,875.
In the November 15 auction, the B. Prabha painting, titled Indian Women Painting and depicting six Indian women walking through a village, has an estimate of $15,000-$20,000. The work is signed by Prabha’s agent, Nayana Sarmalkar. Prabha entered the art world when few Indian women were involved professionally, and worked on more than 50 exhibitions, both inside and outside of India.
The Husain painting is a Cubist figural watercolor depicting a man and woman in bright polychromatic outfits on the back of a white horse, which should reach $10,000-$15,000. It comes with a certificate of authenticity.
The Estate Fine Art & Antique Auction will feature fine items pulled from prominent estates and collections across New England, to include artwork, decorative arts, collectibles and Asian arts. “This will be the last fine art and antique auction of the year, rounding out with some amazing Indian artwork and looking forward to what we find in the New Year,” said Travis Landry, an auctioneer with Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers. Kevin Bruneau, Bruneau & Co’s president and an auctioneer, added, “The sale consists of several local estates, including a longtime friend’s that features the whimsical statues that everyone gives a high-five to in the gallery.” He was referring to the pair of life-size figural kinetic metal sculptures – one male and one female, comprised of painted metal rods. They should hammer for $800-$1,200.
The first three lots are bound to get paddles wagging right away. They are circus sideshow banners, led by Lot 1, a work by Fred G. Johnson (American, 1892-1990), who is considered the best sideshow circus banner artist in history. Titled That Strange Creature Obby Dobby Alive, the banner, measuring 7 ft 10 in by 9 ft 7 in, features a large, colorfully painted iguana in a jungle setting. The banner carries a rather modest estimate of $2,000-$3,000.
Lot 2, by Johnny Meah (American, b. 1937), is titled Fish Girl Devil’s Child and depicts a blonde mermaid to the top half and a devil baby to the bottom half. The 7 ft 8in by 9ft 7in banner is signed, “Meah Studios Weeki-Wachee, Fla.,” at the lower right. It has an estimate of $2,000-$3,000. Meah has works in the Smithsonian and the Barnum Museum.
Lot 3, by Florida artist Jack Sigler, consists of four banners that will be sold as one lot with an estimate of $2,000-$3,000. They are titled Children of Forgotten Fathers, The World’s Strangest Babies; Addict Babies (which depicts a baby and a syringe); Two-Headed Baby (which is shown in a crib); and Human Frog Baby Twins. The Addict Babies banner is signed “J. Sigler Tampa” lower right. The group comes out of a Burrillville, Rhode Island estate.
A late 19th- or early 20th-century Malles Goyard large rectangular French steamer trunk should bring $2,500-$3,500. The trunk is marked, “Malles Goyard 233 Rue Saint Honore Paris Monte Carlo Biarritz” on a metal tag and “Goyard” on the top of the lid.
A 19th-century Swiss or Austrian enameled automaton music box, the top of which is decorated with women and sheep beside a lake with landscape cartouches to each side, should sell for $2,000-$3,000.
Also up for bid will be a US 1925 Saint Gaudens $20 gold coin, graded NGC MS 62, estimated at $1,000-$2,000, and a Japanese Thousand Faces porcelain censer, dating to the late 19th or early 20th century and estimated at $600-$900.
To contact Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers about consigning a single piece or an entire collection, you may send an e-mail to email@example.com. Or, you can phone them at 401-533-9980.
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