Controversy over auctioning of Corbusier-designed objects has once again surfaced with Chandigarh based heritage expert Ajay Jagga lodging a complaint with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement against auction of heritage furniture belonging to Chandigarh in a New York-based auction house. The complainant has alleged that furniture items were taken outside the country without following legal procedures.
Last year two lounge chairs designed by Corbusier were auctioned at Chicago fetching an unbelievable sum of Rs 1.14 crore. Similarly, few years ago cast-iron manhole covers bearing an impression of the master plan of Chandigarh city by the famous Swiss architect had fetched 17,851 Euros! Jagga has complained that a total of three furniture items were sold for Rs 36 lakh during an auction held on May 23. Similarly, he has cited several such instances when heritage furniture and other objects of Chandigarh sold at various auction houses abroad in the recent past.
According to UT urban planning department there are fakes masquerading as Corbusier originals also. Archaeological Survey of India too had asked UT last year to begin enumerating Corbusier’s works and then check their authenticity. According ASI, preparation of the inventory of all such works, authentication of them and a museum to showcase such works of art will prevent illegal export of these items.