Indian Legend’s Raja Ravi Varma’s NFT auction ends after bidding war  with Lakshmi lithograph selling for 2x of reserve price
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Indian Legend’s Raja Ravi Varma’s NFT auction ends after bidding war with Lakshmi lithograph selling for 2x of reserve price

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Home to some of the most renowned artists, India is well known for its rich heritage, unparalleled art and vibrant culture. One such iconic Indian artist was Raja Ravi Varma. He was an Indian painter and artist and is considered to be among the greatest painters in the history of Indian art.

His works are one of the best examples of the fusion of European academic art with a purely Indian sensibility and iconography. Additionally, he was notable for making affordable lithographs of his paintings available to the public, which greatly enhanced his reach and influence as a painter and public figure. His lithographs increased the involvement of common people with fine arts and defined artistic tastes among common people.

Born 29 April 1848 at Kilimanoor in Travancore, Raja Ravi Varma was a painter par excellence whose works put India on the map. (Image Source: http://www.rrvhfoundation.com)

Singapore’s leading online art marketplace RtistiQ, a distinct physical and digital art marketplace that brings together artworks created by artists from over 38 countries, recently ran an exclusive live non-fungible token (NFT) auction for some of the legendary artist Raja Ravi Varma (RRV)’s most treasured works including digital editions of The Coquette and Reclining Nair Lady. The auction was held in collaboration with gallery g and Raja Ravi Varma Heritage Foundation.

In the auction that ran between 17th February 2022 and 20th February 2022, the NFT drop also included 5 lithographs from the painter’s Gods and Goddesses series, with all pieces selling above the reserve price of $999. After a bidding war that led to a bid extension, the Lakshmi lithograph was sold for the highest bid of $2,150, coming in at twice the reserve price.

Lakshmi is the Hindu Goddess of wealth and good fortune.

Meanwhile, the other lithographs for Saraswati and Yashoda bagged $1,700 while Shankar and Vishnu were sold at $1,400 and $1,350 respectively.

The lithographs were reproductions of some of Raja Ravi Varma’s iconic works depicting Indian gods and goddesses adorned with colourful garments and pretty jewellery, brought to life in 1894 after RRV set up a printing press with Fritz Schleicher.

“The lithographs were a key part of Raja Ravi Varma’s legacy in making art affordable to the public. This NFT auction was the next step in the journey of his works as his iconic works were minted and tokenised, immortalized in the metaverse as it allowed everyone else the opportunity to own a piece of India’s beautiful art legacy,” said Jothi Menon, CEO and co-founder of RtistiQ.

The Coquette- One of the most stunning works created by Ravi Varma, the portrait of a ravishing young lady holding a gooseberry or lemon in her hand was possibly the artist’s way of indicating her pregnant state. 

The auction also included lots for NFT and digital versions of The Coquette (Reserve Price: $63,999) and The Reclining Nair Lady (Reserve Price: $74,999) as well as a documentary series with copyright and digital photographs, Wanderers Between Worlds (Reserve Price: $6999), though the reserve prices had not been met.

With over 17,000 unique visitors to the auction page and 1,000 confirmed participants from India, UAE, Singapore and the US, 45 bids had been placed over the three days of the auction.

For more details on the auction, please visit the NFT preview page: https://art.rtistiq.com/en/nftdrop/raja-ravi-varma-nft-auction 

About Post Author

Surabhi Pandey

Surabhi Pandey, a former Delhi Doordarshan presenter, is a journalist currently based in Singapore. She is the author of ‘Nascent Wings’ and ‘Saturated Agitation’ and has contributed to over 15 anthologies in English and Hindi in India and Singapore. She writes on topics related to lifestyle and travel and is an active reporter on the tech startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia. She is the editor and founder of The Vent Machine.
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