BONHAMS, DR CHRISTA PAULA AND RETURN TO COMMON SENSE – ARROGANCE RUBBED TO THE GROUND WITHOUT REAL KNOWLEDGE – ART EXPLORATION AT AUCTION HOUSES, RESEARCH CONFIRMATION.
The knowledge of Auction houses is meager, when their arrogance comes in. Real homage is to be paid to Western civilization, trying to get to the bottom of things. That is the objective solution. The host of Indians floating in auction houses really lack knowledge, but are too proud to even ask others. Not so true for a Bavarian German, who became an adviser to Bonhams, London. I received a letter from her requesting my cooperation in authentication. I did so, and i was acknowledged in a Bonhams catalogue itself. Christa is still a friend, although she is no longer associated with Bonhams. She had wisdom and common sense. She saw aesthetics and not feel threatened by lack of knowledge about a subject. In 2009, she wrote to me:
My name is Christa Paula, I am an art historian (PhD SOAS) and have only recently begun looking at the work of Abdur Rehman Chughtai. I hope this e-mail finds you well.
I have come across a particular beautiful work attributed to the artist – gorgeous line work, deep washes and luminous colours (I hope you can open the image) and have been pondering the iconography of the painting.
The seated beauty delicately holds a flower and a book (of poetry?) whilst two male figures loom in the background.
One assumes that the painting relates to a particular personage or narrative.
Can you help?
I also plan to visit Lahore in the future and very much hope to gain access to your collection and expand my meagre knowledge of this important artist.
With kind regards
What more can be said? Christa used her art instincts well. Her work is well and remarkable. A journey from 1976 to 2009, required Bavarian German expertise.
I have jumped the happenings of 1990s, which require more detail. Will come to that soon. Enjoy the exposition series on Auction houses!
Thanks due to Edward Wilkinson too, for seeking my advice from Bonhams in Los Angeles in 2013.
Edward WilkinsonConsultant – Southeast Asian, Indian and Himalayan ArtBonhams
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