Bid & Hammer has stated that its recent victory in a recovery suit has come as a relief to its patrons and the art fraternity. The verdict came in the backdrop of the adverse publicity planned by its business rivals during its ‘Significant Indian Art’ auction in New Delhi on 27th June 2014, a statement from Bid & Hammer says. In the recovery suit, the Tribunal declared that the Ravi Varma ‘Jatayu Vadha’ painting auctioned by Bid & Hammer to Kiran Nadar was by “no means a fake”.
Bid & Hammer has further stated that the verdict is a ‘triumph for Indian art’ as it has done what no other auction house has done so far – to walk the talk and stand by its opinion. This verdict and its methodology will serve as a wake-up call for those who have been manipulating the Indian art market for personal gains, the auction house states. “They will now have to exercise abundant caution before starting any sort of rumours that can damage the reputation of venerable art experts and collectors….also, the call to have an industry regulatory body to curb the sale of fake artworks will be untenable if say two equally qualified specialists on the same subject or artist continue to have diametrically opposing views”, said Maher Dadha, chairman & managing director of Bid & Hammer. For instance, will Susobhan Adhikary of Visvabharati University who alleged that ‘Nritya’ by Rabindranath Tagore in the Bid & Hammer auction was not original, be able to substantiate his claim to Prof. Ratan Parimoo of M S Baroda University who initially authenticated the work, the statement asks. It also notes that a regulatory body will be ineffective, counter-productive and questionable if it is not inclusive and respectful of differing viewpoints.
Even in 2004 some galleries who worked exclusively with certain auction houses had tried to form a similar association but it failed to take off due to obvious conflicts of interest, Dadha says, adding that a regulatory body for art, on the lines of SEBI or the Competition Commission of India is not going to be plausible until all the fraternity members first regulate themselves and be willing to face the burden of providing evidence of a work’s authenticity or lack of it.
Dadha's statement says that Bid & Hammer has utilised the judicial machinery to not only restore its own reputation and that of its consignors along with that of Ravi Varma but also to expose the menace of sub-standard authenticators and restorers.