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Gaitonde work among top 5 costliest works ever sold by an Indian artist

The green oil painting representing the artist’s precise, deliberate technique was estimated to be worth Rs 20-30 crore

By PTI in New Delhi

  • Published 17.09.19, 3:50 AM
  • Updated 17.09.19, 3:50 AM
Gaitonde
Gaitonde (The Telegraph archive picture)

An untitled 1982 work by V.S. Gaitonde, painted at the peak of his career, has fetched Rs 26.9 crore at Saffronart’s recent live evening sale on Modern Indian Art, making it one of the five costliest works ever sold by an Indian artist.

The green oil painting representing the artist’s precise, deliberate technique was estimated to be worth Rs 20-30 crore.

It has now become one of the top three most expensive works by Gaitonde to be sold in India.

Also contributing to the impressive total sale value of Rs 54.2 crore was Bhupen Khakhar’s Tradesman (1986), a painting that was auctioned for the first time.

It achieved the second highest value, selling at Rs 3.72 crore.

Ram Kumar’s Composition was another highlight of the sale. The 1958 work sold for Rs 2 crore, doubling its lower estimate.

“The painting marks a significant turning point in the artist’s career, when his work began to transition from the figurative towards abstraction,” the auction house said in a statement.

Among the top five was K.H. Ara’s Untitled work dating back to the 1940s. An unusual, humanistic portrayal of a group of labourers playing cards, the painting sold for four times its higher estimate at Rs 1.2 crore.

A later geometric work by S.H. Raza, Om (2007), fetched twice its lower estimate at Rs 1.92 crore.

Gaitonde’s 1982 masterpiece took its place among the top three highest value works to be sold by the artist in the country,” Dinesh Vazirani, Saffronart’s CEO and co-founder, said.

“The results reflect the continued global interest in modern Indian masters, including Bhupen Khakhar, K.H. Ara and Ram Kumar, whose works were created during a transformational period in Indian art history.”

Striking sculptures by Pilloo Pochkhanawala and Ramkinkar Baij surpassed their higher estimates. 

Assassination (1981) by Pochkhanawala, one of India’s leading women sculptors, had been created with cement, metal and fibreglass, and sold for more than five times its higher estimate at Rs 50 lakh.

Baij’s unique bronze sculpture portraying Mahatma Gandhi walking resolutely during the historic Dandi March doubled its lower estimate to sell for Rs 37.2 lakh. 

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