NEW YORK—Saffronart’s two-day online auction of modern and contemporary Indian art Sept. 8–9 realized $6.4million, just under the overall estimate of $6.5million/8.7million. Of the 90 works offered, 76 percent were sold, more than half at prices above estimate, auction house officials said.
The top lot, which was featured on the cover of the sale catalogue, was Syed Haider Raza’s bright grid painting Bhartiya Samaroh, 1988, which sold for $905,000, above its $600,000/800,000 estimate. The title of the nearly six-foot-square work, one of Raza’s earliest and largest fractured geometric paintings, according to the catalogue, translates loosely to “a festival or gathering.”
Demand was mixed for other works by the artist in the sale. Terre Jaune, 1956, an oil on canvas, sold for $172,500, within the estimate of $150,000/180,000. However, an untitled 1960 abstract oil on paper, which carried a $77,780/100,000 estimate, and an acrylic on canvas, Feuilles Blanches, 1967, which was estimated at $80,000/100,000, were both unsold.
Among other top lots were Couple I–Man and Woman, 1986, an ink and pastel on paper by Jogen Chowdhury (b. 1939), which sold for $354,583, double the estimate of $133,335/155,560, and a large untitled oil on canvas by Maqbool Fida Husain (b. 1915), which sold for $287,500, within the $250,000/300,000 estimate.
An untitled painting by Subodh Gupta (b. 1964) featuring the artist’s signature imagery of steel tiffin pots and pans sold for $271,400, within the estimate of $200,000/300,000. An untitled 2007–8 sculpture of a woman’s head by Ravinder Reddy, composed of polyester, resin and fiberglass, sold for $256,197 within the estimate of $222,225/333,335.
The sale featured two works by Jehangir Sabavala (b. 1922), whose oil landscape The Casuarina Line I, 2002, fetched a record $374,900 last summer (ANL, 7/13/10). Icarus, 1965, an oil on canvas, sold for $258,762, above the estimate of $133,335/177,780, and The Wayfarers–II, 1990, sold for $213,440 against an estimate of $155,560/200,000.
Saffronart CEO and cofounder Dinesh Vazirani noted “sustained bidding from serious and mature collectors,” which he said carries “a very positive message for the market. The art market continues to show strength and we will continue to witness interest in the works of renowned Indian artists in the coming auctions.”