Gaitonde painting sold for a record Rs 29 crore at Christie's auction

Updated: 17 December, 2015 12:27 IST | A correspondent |

Christie's third India sale totals INR 97,69,90,000 / USD 14.7 million, highest total for any auction in INdia. Untitled painting by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde sells for INR 29,30,25000 / USD 4.4 million. This is the highest price for the category and artist record

Christie’s third sale in India totalled INR 97,69,90,000 / $14.7million, well above the pre-sale high estimate of INR 75,06,30,000 becoming the highest total for any auction held in India. 95% of the lots sold, in line with the results of the previous annual auctions. Strong bidding was seen across all price points from clients representing four continents - a demonstration of the international demand for this category, reflected in the demand for the top lot this evening. Five bidders, on the telephones and in the room, battled for Untitled, an oil by the modern master Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (1924-2001), painted in 1995 which soared above its pre-sale estimate to sell for INR 29,30,25,000 ($4,416,502), breaking the previous world auction record (INR 23,70,25,000 / $3.7 million) for the artist and for the category set by Christie’s at the inaugural India sale in 2013.

William Robinson, Auctioneer and International Head of World Art, selling Vasudeo S. Gaitonde Untitled painting for INR 29,30,25,000 ($4,416,502), in Mumbai
William Robinson, Auctioneer and International Head of World Art, selling Vasudeo S. Gaitonde Untitled painting for INR 29,30,25,000 ($4,416,502), in Mumbai

Interest in classical art, the first time they have been included, was reflected in the granite figure of a Dvarapala, South India, circa 10th Century, the top lot, which sold for INR 1,70,25,000 with 99% of this section of 28 pieces selling. As these objects are not able to be exported, but can still be exchanged in India, this is a sign of the growing appreciation for these important cultural objects within India.

“As leaders in the field of Indian modern and contemporary art, the team have proven that their strategy of ensuring we offer works of the best quality, competitively priced and with great provenance continues to be a winning formula for our clients. The results speak for themselves - 73% of lots sold above estimate, 9 new artist’s records and, a first this year, a consolidation of our position in India with the addition of 28 lots of classical art within our sales. With each sale, our collectors here increase in number and appetite and the demand for works of top quality is there to be met. The whole team would also like to thank all of those bidders this evening who competed for the 6 works kindly donated by leading contemporary artists and galleries which, when combined with Christie’s promise to match the buyer’s premium, raised INR36,07,500 for victims of the Chennai floods. The funds will be shared jointly between Bhoomika Trust and Blue Cross India.” William Robinson, International Head of World Art

Christie's auction

Christie's auction

Christie's auction

About Christie's and Indian Art
>> 2015 marks the 20th consecutive year of Christie’s selling South Asian Modern and Contemporary art
>> Christie’s has had a presence in the country for 20 years
>> Christie’s are the only international auctioneers to hold sales regularly in India
>> The Indian Art specialist team is based in Mumbai, New York and London
>> In the September 2015 South Asian Modern + Contemporary sale in New York, 44% of lots were either sold or directly underbid by collectors on the internet. The average price per item sold online was $49,000
>> Christie’s hold the world auction records for works by F.N. Souza, Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, Tyeb Metha, S. H. Raza, M. F. Hussain and many other artists
>> Top selling lot of 2013: Vasudeo S. Gaitonde’s Untitled INR 23,70,25,000 (US$3,792,400) with a sale total of INR 96,59,37,500 ($15.4 million) with 98% sold by value and lot
>> Top selling lot of 2014: Tyeb Mehta’s xxx sold for INR 17,54,25,000 (US$2,818,072) with a sale total of INR 75,27,45,000 ($12,092,289) with 97% sold by value and 90% by lot

Christie's auction

One of the most important works of art offered in the sale is a buff sandstone figure of the dancing Ganesha, the lovable and mischievous elephant-headed deity. The theme of the dancing Ganesha captivated the sculptors of Central India, resulting in the production of some of the liveliest examples between the 8th and 11thcenturies. This Ganesha is carved with voluptuous form as well as a sense of joygul elegance and agility. This signature piece of the sale is amongst the finest of its type (estimate: INR 60,00,000-70,00,000/illustrated right).

Christie's Ganesha idol

At the heart of the miniature paintings selection is a group that comes directly from the ancestral collections of the Maharajas of Bikaner. Very well preserved by the dry desert air, these are a reminder of how cosmopolitan Bikaner was in its heyday. Not only does the group include typical elegant depictions of Krishna and palace life, but also two paintings that clearly illustrate the direct influence of Golconda (present day Hyderabad) in the Deccan. The group also contains two fanciful depictions of Europeans that relate closely to those painted on the ceilings of the Phool Mahal in the Fort of Bikaner (estimates range from INR 2,00,000-12,00,000).

First Published: 16 December, 2015 09:37 IST

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