A painting of Arhat Angaja – earliest listed source, 2015

This painting of Arhat Angaja was “acquired from Ferri-Drouot” in Paris on the 26th of June 2015, but Ferri Drouot is “une société de ventes aux enchères” (an auction house for fine art and antiques). Who sold it to or through Ferri Drouot? When and where did the anonymous previous owner acquire it?

According to Christie’s, this painting ‘belonged to a set of 23 paintings depicting the Sixteen Great Arhats’. So, presumably, they know more than they are saying. ‘Three other compositions from this particular paintings set have been identified: Arhat Nagasena (HAR item no.36291), Arhat Kanakavatsa (HAR item no.36292), and Arhat Bakula (HAR item no.36293).’

How do they know that there was a set of 23 paintings of 16 aspects of this legendary figure? Since they can apparently account for 4 of the paintings, what has happened to the other 19? When such information is withheld, is it because people in its chain of ownership do not want to be identified? Is it because the information is actually insecure? Is it because its release would highlight how little information is known about other objects?

Diligent sellers should not play hide and seek with their diligent buyers.

Its price had already jumped from an estimate of €20,000-€30,000 to a sale price of €65,000. Why, in less than a year, has its estimate jumped again? Is it because, since the auction in Paris, it has any known collecting history?

Its auction estimate is $120,000-$180,000.

A painting of Arhat Angaja. Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art, Lot 215, Sale 12168, Christie's, New York, USA, 15th March 2016.

A painting of Arhat Angaja. Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Works of Art, Lot 215, Sale 12168, Christie’s, New York, USA, 15th March 2016.

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