Modernists emerged strong at Saffronart’s Evening Sale which concluded last night at The Leela in New Delhi. 86% lots sold for a total of INR 66 crores (USD 10.4 million), with paintings by V S Gaitonde, Nicholas Roerich, Tyeb Mehta and Bhupen Khakhar leading the sale.
V S Gaitonde’s expansive blue canvas, Untitled, 1963 (below left), led the Evening Sale. Estimated at INR 10 – 15 crores (USD 1.5 – 2.3 million), it doubled its lower estimate, selling for INR 19.99 crores (USD 3.17 million). The painting earned a place among the five most expensive artworks by the artist sold worldwide at auction. The painting is also the most expensive artwork sold by Saffronart to date.
Nicholas Roerich’s Himalayas, 1940 (above right), sold for four times its lower estimate at INR 4.8 crores (USD 761,905). The painting’s pre-sale estimate was INR 1.2 – 1.8 crores (USD 190,480 – 285,715). Russian by birth, Roerich made India his home in the 1920s. His breathtaking paintings of the Himalayas earned him the title of Wizard of Eastern Landscapes and Master of Mountains. Himalayas is the most expensive artwork by the artist sold at auction in India.
Tyeb Mehta’s Crucifixion, 1959 (left), was one of the artist’s most unique paintings, given its Christian theme. It was estimated at INR 4 – 6 crores (USD 634,925 – 952,385). The painting sold for INR 4.2 crores (USD 666,667), crossing its lower estimate.
Artworks by three modernists in particular saw enthusiastic bidding last night, easily exceeding their pre-sale estimates. Arpita Singh’s Girl at the Window, 1989, doubled its upper estimate and sold for INR 14.4 lakhs (USD 22,857) against an initial estimate of INR 4 – 6 lakhs (USD 6,350 – 9,525). Two paintings by Ganesh Pyne—Untitled, 1955, and The
Gardener, 2008—indicate a growing interest in the artist’s subdued palette and themes. Untitled, 1955, sold for INR 16.8 lakhs (USD 26,667) against a pre-sale estimate of INR 7 – 9 lakhs (USD 11,115 – 14,290). The Gardener, 2008, was initially estimated at INR 28 – 38 lakhs (USD 44,445 – 60,320), and sold for INR 51.6 lakhs (USD 81,905). Three paintings by Jamini Roy surpassed expectations. An Untitled painting of a Bankura horse, estimated at INR 3 – 5 lakhs (USD 4,765 – 7,940), sold for INR 13.2 lakhs (USD 20,952), more than doubling the upper estimate. An Untitled painting of a deer, done in Roy’s signature sweeping strokes, sold at double its upper estimate at INR 10.2 lakhs (USD 16,190), against a pre-sale estimate of INR 3 – 5 lakhs (USD 4,765 – 7,940). The third, an Untitled painting of a woman, starkly minimalist in execution, trebled its upper estimate. It sold at INR 33.6 lakhs (USD 53,333) compared to a pre-sale estimate of INR 8 – 10 lakhs (USD 12,700 – 15,875). The paintings by Roy were from the collection of Dr. Susanta Sen, a well-respected physician with a passion for collecting.