Mumbai-based auction house AstaGuru concluded their online, Modern Indian Art auction last week and achieved a white glove result. The total sales value came up to a whopping ₹70,68,39,061 crore, with a 100 percent lots sold ratio.
The auction catalogue featured an impressive compendium of 30 eminent artworks by leading modernists, with a majority of the offering coming up to the auction block for the very first time.
The highest price was fetched by lot 17, an ‘Untitled’ work by V S Gaitonde from the year 1971. The work was sold at ₹14.12 crore, which showcases the artist’s mastery on the canvas to achieve a vivacious creation of earthy overtones with bright patches of orange that seek to break through its surface.
The second highest in the auction were the paintings by V S Gaitonde from 1970 (lot 16) and Tyeb Mehta’s ‘Untitled’ from the year 1981. Gaitonde’s piece is an abstract painting that has splashes of black on beige while Mehta’s painting is a pictorial juxtaposition of his subjects with their surroundings and the vivid colours make the piece a stunner. Both the masterpieces fetched ₹13.80 crore.
The third highest painting sold was of Manjit Bawa. His work is known for the perfect melange of modern sensibilities and Indian aesthetics and the use of bright colours such as red, yellow or green as the background. The subjects are painted in clean, refined strokes. It fetched ₹4.13 crore.
Jogen Chowdhury’s ‘Story of Woman’, a painting from 2013 (6 feet in height and 25 feet in length), is one of his largest paintings to date. It took the artist five canvas panels to create the painting, which was auctioned for ₹4.02 crore.
The beautiful piece narrates a story of the sexual tension that looms over the relationship of a man and woman, with the woman being the protagonist.
Tushar Sethi, CEO, AstaGuru, said, “Every year we present some of the best works by visionary artists who have shaped the trajectory of Modern Indian Art in India. This white glove sale signifies the confidence and demand that Modern Indian art inspires.”
Here are few other important paintings from the auction:
MF Husain’s ‘Blue Ganges’ (lot 11) was auctioned for ₹2.65 crore. This is a painting from the early years of Husain (1966) and was inspired by his time in Benaras. The use of blue and dark shades of browns depicts Ganges and people participating in the rituals at the ghat.
Lot 26 by Krishen Khanna titled ‘Minstrels In The Forest’ sold for ₹1.28 crore. The said lot achieved the highest sale value to date with regards to Krishen Khanna’s Bandwalla series.
Gagendranath Tagore’s ‘Untitled’, gouache on paper, circa 1930, exceeded its upper estimate of ₹10 lakh and was sold for ₹27.88 lakh. Tagore was a brilliant satirical cartoonist whose caricatures often portrayed the discrimination faced by the Indians at the hands of the British and the upperclassmen during the British Raj. Titled ‘Metamorphosis’ depicts the protagonist as a cunning babu who outsmarts the guard with his quick wit.
Akbar Padamsee’s Untitled (Portrait Of A Woman) from 1998, fetched ₹34.50 lakh. Padamsee is known to explore figuration throughout his artistic career. This painting is of a woman gazing intently at something.
MF Husain’s Untitled (Mother Teresa Series) circa 1930 fetched ₹1.07 crore. This painting is part of a series that was painted to show Mother Teresa’s work for the marginalized. Mother Teresa here is shown in her trademark white sari and a blue border, cradling a child, while an infant tugs at her sari.