The Miranda masterpiece

Updated: 20 April, 2020 10:00 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

Today sees the first-ever auction of Mario Miranda's artworks in a wide range of genres

Jazz Band. Pics courtesy/StoryLTD
Jazz Band. Pics courtesy/StoryLTD

The genius of Mario Miranda, one of the finest chroniclers of human activity and emotion that this country has produced, was apparent at an early age. In school, his teacher, Alec Alvares, conducted a demonstration on the workings of invisible ink. Then, he asked students to try making invisible ink themselves and bring back a few words written with it to class the next day. While sifting through the messages that appeared on paper under a glow lamp, he chanced upon a sheet where he saw his own caricature appear. Shocked, he demanded to know who the artist was, and Miranda admitted to it.

Today, for the first time, an auction of his works will take place. Titled The World of Mario, it is being conducted on StoryLTD, a sister website of the auction house Saffronart. The auction has been three years in the making, says Gerard da Cunha, curator of the Mario Gallery. "But the lockdown proved to be a good time to do this since we had time to plan over the last two weeks," he tells us from Goa.

Boat Man
Boat Man

A selection of 21 artworks is available at the no-reserve sale. It comprises caricatures, political cartoons, sketches and cartoons of his travels, illustrations that he created for books, as well as his famed pocket cartoons. Two seminal works included in the auction are Jazz Band (Lot 10) and Merry X'mas (Lot 21). "The appeal of Miranda's work is universal — from those who grew up reading or are familiar with publications such as the Illustrated Weekly of India and Filmfare, for which he created regular cartoons and much-loved characters; to younger collectors who will nonetheless appreciate his razor-sharp wit, satire, and sensibilities, which remain as relevant today," a spokesperson from StoryLTD shared.

Da Cunha, citing I Don't Like The Mouth as his favourite piece, because it displays Miranda's understated humour, is hoping for a good response. "I'm hoping it appeals to all kinds of collectors. And since it's the first time we're doing this, if we don't try it, we will never know."

Gerard da Cunha
Gerard da Cunha

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First Published: 20 April, 2020 09:31 IST

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