Rabindranath Tagore poems manuscripts auction at Sotheby's New York

Rabindranath Tagore's (1861-1941) historical importance lies in his manuscripts, but that hasn't stopped the Bengali polymath and Nobel laureate from having a huge posthumous impact at the world's top art auctions.

Around this time in 2010, Tagore lead Sotheby's Asian Art sale with no fewer than 12 paintings which brought $2.37 million - well in excess of their $370,000 estimate.

Now Sotheby's is hoping for further success in its upcoming sale of a series of Tagore's rare manuscript poems, getting even closer to the legacy of the man how reshaped Bengal's literature and music.


Rabindranath Tagorea

Rabindranath Tagore artworks have
sold for millions at Sotheby's prior

Among the New York December 13 sale's highlights is an Unknown Manuscript Notebook. It contains 12 poems and song lyrics. Even more fascinatingly, some of these have been heavily amended by Tagore and were subsequently published in different forms.

For instance, 12 of the verses from this notebook were later published in 1929 as part of a collection entitled Mohua. From childhood until his death in 1941, Tagore wrote thousands of poems inspired by his travels around India, and the East and West.

According to Sotheby's, this notebook was gifted to a friend and early patron of Tagore in the 1930s. The relationship between their families has been traced back to the mid-1800s. It remained in the patron's family until now, in the hands of the consignor.

The book, dating to 1928, was later brought to North America in the 1950s.

With its seminal content and firmly-rooted provenance, this book will appear at Sotheby's New York on December 13 with a $150,000 to $250,000 pre-sale estimate.

Given that increasing numbers of collectors are emerging in Tagore's homeland of India - as well as other emerging Eastern economies like China and the UAE - it will be interesting to see how many bidders from the region flock to Sotheby's sale.

Watch this space for more news on the auction.


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