Christie's to sell producer Merchant's collection

Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:07am EDT
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LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Christie's will offer art and furniture belonging to the late Indian-born film producer Ismail Merchant at a London sale on October 7, the auctioneer said on Friday.

Merchant, who died in 2005 aged 68, was best known for his collaboration with U.S. director James Ivory, and they made a string of critically acclaimed movies including "A Room With a View," "Howards End" and "The Remains of the Day."

The auction will include works of art from Merchant's properties in London, Paris and upstate New York, as well as a small selection from his New York apartment.

Estimates range from 500-100,000 pounds ($830-166,000) and the sale overall is expected to raise around 500,000 pounds.

Among the highlights is a large painting showing a group of Indian Thugges by Hungarian artist August Schoefft which is expected to fetch 70-100,000 pounds.

The auction will also include a small group of film memorabilia including props from Merchant Ivory pictures.

Merchant was born in Mumbai in 1936 and became a film producer after moving to New York. He met Ivory and, together with screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, they formed Merchant Ivory Productions in the early 1960s.

They made over 40 films which picked up six Academy Awards and helped launched the movie careers of actors including Hugh Grant and Helena Bonham Carter.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>The late Indian-born film producer Ismail Merchant is pictured in Bombay in this February 20, 2004 file photo. REUTERS/Sherwin Crasto</p>