A large concave stainless steel installation by British-Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor, was sold for Rs 4.80 crore last evening at Saffronart's Evening Sale of modern and contemporary Indian art. With its sale, the untitled installation, earlier estimated between Rs 4 and 6 crore, became the first Kapoor work to be auctioned in India. Kapoor is renowned for his colossal sculptures, such as the bean-shaped Cloud Gate installed at Millennium Park, Chicago, and the Sky Mirror in Nottingham, England.
Anish Kapoor's installation that was sold for R4.80 cr. Works by other artists such as SH Raza, VS Gaitonde, Bharti Kher and Subodh Gupta were also sold.
The auction also saw Gulam Mohammed Sheikh’s Tree Over mountains (1937), sell for R1.20 crore, a giant leap from its estimated price of Rs 30 to 40 lakh.
The live auction, helmed by Saffronart CEO Hugo Weihe and Saffronart co-founder Dinesh Vazirani, saw a total of 80 lots go under the hammer, and included works by SH Raza, VS Gaitonde, Bharti Kher and Subodh Gupta, as well as young contemporary artists such as Nikhil Chopra, and Thukral and Tagra. The total sale value (inclusive of buyer’s premium) was Rs 50,06,90,000
However, the auction saw conservative buyers this time around, with works by MF Husain, Akbar Padamsee and Manjit Bawa just skirting the lower estimate prices. Only 66 lots were sold, and even the top lot of the evening, an untitled work by Gaitonde, went for Rs 7.7 crore, from its estimated range of Rs 6 crores to 8 crores.
When asked about the conservative bidding, Weihe responded saying, "The market is very discriminating. But this is good feedback about our curation. We are thrilled that a work by Kapoor was auctioned here. Buyers have shown interest in the early works by KH Ara. We have also seen successful mobile phone bids this time." Saffronart, which has recently introduced a mobile app for its auctions, saw the first mobile bid for the day with an MF Husain work.
The auction also saw a tough competition for works that weren't part of the cover lot. Ara’s works sold four times more than estimated prices. An unusual paper on collage work by Somnath Hore went for Rs 13.20 lakh, after a stiff bidding battle from its lower estimate of Rs 3 lakh. A sculpture by Sankho Chaudhuri went for Rs 22.8 lakh.
Similarly, Zarina Hashmi’s set of 10 paperworks sold for Rs 24 lakh.