NEW YORK—The Cleveland Museum of Art was the buyer of a $4.07 million granite sculpture, Shiva as Brahma, that was auctioned at Sotheby’s sale of Indian and southeast Asian art in New York last month (ANL, 4/3/07).
The life-size representation, which hails from southern India, Chola dynasty (late-10th/early-11th century), was the top lot in the sale of works from the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.
“With any acquisition,” Timothy Rub, director and CEO of the Cleveland Museum of Art, told ARTnewsletter, “one has to be opportunistic—and the moment it came on the market, we were keen on acquiring this Shiva.” Asked if there was a preset auction limit, Rub says, “We were prepared to bid even higher than the final price.” The museum was represented at the auction by London dealer John Eskenazi.
The statue, which represents one of the supreme deities of the Hindu pantheon of gods, “adds to our existing collection of the trinity that shows manifestations of (Lord) Vishnu,” says Rub. “This trinity consists of Sridevi, Bhudevi and Vishnu, and we are particularly pleased since this Shaivaite icon beautifully balances our collection.” Rub notes that the museum hopes to place the statue on display this summer.