Briefly noted: art & obscenity

On September 18 in New York, Sotheby’s will host an auction of modern and contemporary Indian art.

The works include nine  canvases by M.F. Husain — recently exonerated by the Supreme Court of India of obscenity charges. The most anticipated of his works is an oil on canvas of his famous horse which carries an estimated price of US$200,000-250,000.

The next day, on September 19, also in New York, Sotheby’s will auction off 118 lots of rare Indian and Southeast Asian paintings. These include a rare museum quality illustration of ardent lovers Krishna and Radha in a bower, taken from the 12th century Gita Govinda, composed by the poet Jayadeva. Its estimated price is, coincidentally, is in the same region as that for Husain’s horse ($200,000-300,000).

So, which would you rather buy? And, more important, would you term either work ‘obscene’?

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