Merrill Lynch will auction 40 lots of exclusive Indian artwork on October 5 at Mall Galleries in London.
In one of the largest initiatives by a non-auction house to cash in on the growing popularity of Indian art, it is roping in top artists, including Jehangir Sabavala, Akbar Padamsee, Anjolie Ela Menon, N S Bendre, Paritosh Sen, Satish Gujral, Jatin Das, Imtiaz Dharker, Ram Kumar and S H Raza.
Merrill Lynch Global Private Client is supporting 'Art for Conservation', a movement run by the NGO Sanskara, which highlights the need to support conservation programmes and projects in India.
The auction is being put together by Merrill Lynch with Sanskara. The money from the auction will be used for conservation programmes in India.
Hemendra Kothari, chairman, DSP Merrill Lynch Ltd, a key driver of the auction, said: "Through this event, funds raised will be used to create a multimedia education campaign, covering TV and hoardings, and featuring conservation messages. The planned media initiative, which will feature conservation messages from some of India's biggest celebrities, has already secured the involvement of leading Bollywood's artists."
The auction comes at a time when Indian art is the flavour of the season in foreign shores, especially in New York and London, and has raked in over Rs 170 crore this month.
The world's top auction houses, Christie's and Sotheby's, held auctions of Indian art in New York this month.
The growing popularity of Indian art can be gauged from the fact that Christie's raked in over Rs 80 crore from its auction, while Sotheby's made Rs 73 crore from two auctions in New York.
And the hottest artist in both the auctions was F N Souza, who reached new heights when one of his paintings hit the hammer at a price of $1,36,000, bought by an Indian hedge fund manager.
In London, Bonhams, which boasted of 17 Souzas, raked in over Rs 16 crore for its auction of Indian painters.
Even in India, Indian paintings are raking in the moolah. Osian's Mumbai auction was able to attract deals worth Rs 23 crore, while the online auction of Indian art in Saffronart hit an attractive Rs 20 crore.
Merrill Lynch is one of the world's leading wealth management, capital markets and advisory companies, with offices in 36 countries and territories and total client assets of approximately $1.8 trillion.