Bengali Tiger

Collectors and dealers eager to know whether the art market will roar back after a sleepy August won’t have long to wait. Sept. 13 kicks off Asia Week, a twice-yearly (September and March) blitz of themed auctions, gallery shows and museum exhibitions highlighting contemporary and classic works by Asian artists-everything from Tang Dynasty horses to Japanese Pop Art.

Bengali Folk Art painter Jamini Roy is one of the prominent artists whose work is going on the block. Christie’s, leaving little to chance, showcased Roy’s works to Indian collectors at a tony cocktail reception at the Oberoi hotel in New Delhi earlier this month.

Born in 1887, Roy was a prominent Indian cultural figure during the country’s move from British rule to independence. His folk art became emblematic of the rise of India’s national identity at the end of the colonial period. Unlike many of his contemporaries, however, his work was sought by both Western and Eastern collectors.

Christie’s will start off its Sept. 15 auction with 16 of his works, most done in vivid jewel tones mixed with earth and chalk. Prices for Roy’s work have been rising in line with a general climb in the Indian and Southeast Asian art market; suggested starting bids for the 16 works in the Christie’s sales range from $3,000 to $20,000.