An untitled 1980 work by modernist N S Bendre created in his quintessential pointillism technique fetched Rs 6.66 crore at a recent AstaGuru online auction creating a world record price for the artist.
The work that appeared in an auction for the first time was created by Bendre during a mature phase of his career and celebrates his mastery over the meticulous process of creating an image with intricate dot work.
The work was among 41 iconic modern Indian masterpieces that went under the hammer at the sale, fetching an impressive total sale value of Rs 93.20 crore (approx.)
Records were also achieved for artists M V Dhurandhar and Krishen Khanna.
Tyeb Mehta's “Figure with Bird” (1987) sold for Rs 24.27 crore (approx.)
The former’s work depicting a congregation of Hindu deities amidst alluring landscape fetched Rs 5.90 crore (approx.), generating the highest sale value ever achieved at an auction for the artist.
Given the rarity of works by the artist, the landmark example of Indian religious painting, makes for a special addition to an art collection.
A nearly 10 feet untitled work by Khanna sold at a world record price for the artist realising Rs 3.84 crore (approx.)
The 1980 painting was executed in the artist’s signature style colour palette composed of reds, maroons, and browns. It depicts an elaborate scene featuring 13 figures, as well as two competing rams.
The sale was led by two paintings by Tyeb Mehta — “Figure with Bird” (1987) and “Diagonal” (1973).
Executed in the artist’s signature style, the work is a profound interpretation of the artist’s visual vocabulary expressed through the motif of the bird. It fetched Rs 24.27 crore (approx.)
The second work, a large-scale piece spanning almost six feet was part of Mehta’s famous “Diagonal” series that marked a shift in style and transformed his artistic approach from his erstwhile expressionist works.
The painting was acquired at Rs 15.93 crore (approx.)
“With milestone creations by modern Indian artists, the auction featured several works which made their auction debut. The overwhelming response underscores the continued demand for works by the modernists that are new to the auction market and have great provenance.
“Moreover, three world records including a hundred-year-old painting by M V Dhurandhar absolutely affirms our commitment to bring the best that Indian modernism has to offer,” says Sunny Chandiramani from the auction house.
Also part of the sale was an important untitled work by eminent modernist Jehangir Sabavala at a time when the artist was focused on creating art with a subdued colour palette, predominantly featuring tones of grey, brown, and green.
The 1974 work fetched Rs 9.36 crore (approx.).
The auction also included several important works from different stages of legendary modernist M F Husain’s career.
Untitled (Bhagavad Gita) depicts an important chapter towards the end of Hindu epic ‘Mahabharata’. Executed in a minimalist style with only three colours, the canvas shows Bhishma Pitamah on the bed of arrows.
Painted in front of a live audience, the 1994 work was acquired at a value of Rs 5.69 crore (approx.)
Four other works by the artist were acquired exceeding their estimates.
“Manor House” (1957), a landscape work reminiscent of Victorian style architecture that was painted by F N Souza during his years in the UK, realised a value of Rs 4.54 crore (approx.)
Another unique work from the year 1987 by leading artist Rameshwar Broota, titled “Man” was acquired at Rs 1.87 crore (approx.)
Executed with a technique using a knife and blade, the work is an early genesis of the masculine figure now known as “Broota’s Man”.
The sale also featured avant-garde works by other Indian modernists including, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil, Sailoz Mookherjea, Ramkinkar Baij, Jogen Chowdhury, S H Raza, Ram Kumar, K H Ara, H A Gade, Prabhakar Barwe, B Prabha, Ganesh Pyne, Bikash Bhattacharjee, Satish Gujral, Himmat Shah, Anjolie Ela Menon, Manu Parekh, and Thota Vaikuntam.