NEW YORK—Online auctioneer Saffronart, which specializes in modern and contemporary Indian art, reported that its June sale realized $9.7 million, one of its highest totals to date. Of the 140 works on offer, 96, or 69 percent, were sold, setting eight auction records in the process.
The top lot was a large 2006 oil on canvas by Subodh Gupta depicting the artist’s signature stainless steel pots. The untitled painting was estimated at $200,000/250,000, but soared to $1.4 million including premium. That was followed by an acrylic on canvas by Syed Haider Raza, Germination, 1992, which brought in $1.1 million on an estimate of $687,500/937,500.
Works by modern Indian painters figured prominently in the sale. Dinesh Vazirani, cofounder and director of Saffronart, said that “the fact that three of the top five lots were by modern Indian artists demonstrates a heartening resurgence in demand for premium modern works.” Three works by Francis Newton Souza were among the top ten prices. The highest-selling of these was an untitled 1961 oil of a standing female nude with a hand raised to her face, which sold for $408,250 (estimate: $100,000/125,000).
Artist records were set for Justin Ponmany, whose 2005 mixed-media-on-canvas Riverbed sold for $235,750; Hema Upadhyay, whose 2005 mixed media on paper, Bleeding Hearts, took $133,975; and Bose Krishnamachari, whose 2005 acrylic and oil Plot sold for $86,825.