Archive for June, 2009


Sotheby’s June 09 Indian Art Sale

   Posted by: admin    in Art News Updates

On the 16th of June Sotheby’s held a sale of Indian art at their Bond, St. London Saleroom which, with the recent downturn in the demand for contemporary Indian art, was an important sale. Works by the modern masters fared well as was to be expected with works by the famous Maqbool Fida Husain proving particularly popular. Even though only 67% of the 86 lots on offer were sold the sale total of 2,067,400 GBP (3,376,684 USD) exceeded the pre-sale estimate of 1,193,500-1,754,000 GBP. This was mainly due to two works the first being the catalogue cover lot by Jogen Chowdhury titled ‘Day Dreaming’ which sold for 373,250 GBP against an estimate of 80,000-120,000 GBP and the other being ‘Orange Head’ by Francis Newton Souza which made 403,250 against an estimate of 80,000-120,000 GBP.

All seven works by Husain found buyers with five of the works exceeding the top estimate including an untitled work from 1953 which fetched the third highest price of the auction of 109,250 against an estimate of 50,000 – 70,000 GBP. The two Husain works that didn’t exceed their top estimate were minor works on paper which proves that quality and rarity were important factors for buyers.

A safety net of historical works from the 16th to 19th centuries made up more than a third of the catalogue and sold well. The highlight of the historical works was an illustration from the Harivamsa circa 1820 that depicts Krishna and his consorts frolicking in the heavens while his companions watch from the Yamuna, India, Kangra or Guler which sold for 23,750 GBP against an estimate of 3,000—5,000 GBP. Works by lesser known and contemporary artists did not do as well with two major works by Thukral and Tagra each estimated to bring in 30,000 – 40,000 GBP failing to sell. The disappointing results for the works by contemporary artists were to be expected considering the overall decline in the demand for contemporary art.

The top four lots went to US private collectors as did the 8th and 10th highest priced lots. Indian private collectors took home the 6th and 7th highest prices lots with the 5th and 9th highest priced lots purchased by London dealers on behalf of private collectors. Overall the sale was a success for Sotheby’s who managed to put together a small and safe catalogue of works that would appeal to a wide range of buyers. The inclusion of several rare top quality works by the most sought after Indian artists satisfied the discerning collectors who are driving the market and gave Sotheby’s a solid result.


Indian art on a roll

   Posted by: admin    in Art News Updates

Works by Indian artists are having a wonderful run at recent auctions including Christie’s and Sotheby’s by successfully appealing to buyers despite the downturn and sending a very positive and encouraging message to the market.

According to Zara Porter-Hill, director and head of Indian art at Sotheby’s, “By choosing desirable works by leading artists at appropriate pricing levels, we assemble a sale that we knew would appeal to buyers in the current market, and the competitive and lively bidding that we witness throughout the sale, principally from private collectors, ratifies our strategy. “says Yamini Mehta, Christie’s senior specialist of South Asian Modern Contemporary Art: “Our auction comes at a precipitous time as increasingly, international institutions are showcasing Indian and Pakistani art.”

Sotheby’s annual sale of Indian art in London on June 16 achieved Rs 16.33 crore, much above the pre-sale expectations of 1.2 million pounds (Rs 9.44 crore) while Christie’s South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art sale in London on June 10 saw a 1960 painting by M F Husain fetching a staggering Rs 3.1 crore.

The Sotheby’s sale, which brought to the market a fine assortment of 86 lots by leading modern and contemporary Indian artists as well as rare and important Indian miniatures, saw an ink and pastel work by Jogen Chowdhury selling for a record Rs 2.95 crore. Chowdhury’s “Day Dreaming” graced the cover of the sale catalogue and was greatly admired during its pre-sale exhibition and had an estimate of 80,000-120,000 pounds.

The picture was purchased by a US private collector, establishing a new auction record for a work on paper by a post-Independence Indian artist. “Orange Head” by F N Souza saw strong competition from a number of buyers before selling to a US private collector for 403,250 pounds, more than three times the presale high estimate of 80,000-120,000 pounds.

This price represents the highest price of the summer auction series of Indian Art at any auction house. Hill said many results were seen sending a very positive and encouraging message to the art market. An untitled painting by Manjit Bawa, which featured on the front cover of the first ever issue of Art India in 1996, sold to an Indian private collector for 85,250 pounds while works by Husain were also highly sought-after with five of the seven paintings offered achieving prices in excess of their pre-sale high estimates at Sotheby’s.

At Christie’s 76 lots of celebrated artists went under the hammer for Rs 18.98 crore. Ram Kumars Untitled (Benares) sold for Rs 1.04 crore while Husain’s other works The Preacher at Mecca” fetched 121,250 pounds (Rs 9.5 million) and Untitled (Horses) Rs 5.7 million. Mumbai-based Saffronart’s online auction held on June 10-11 saw sales of Rs 10.4 crore.

A 1984 untitled oil canvas by V S Gaitonde top the sales at Rs 1.5 crore. Saffronart CEO Dinesh Vazirani says it was a well-curated sale with competitive estimates. “This shows a clear vote of confidence in the market from existing collectors as well as new buyers,” Vazirani says. Global interest in Indian art has established the category as a mainstay of the contemporary scene in London, New York and Hong Kong. Since launching Modern and Contemporary Indian Art sales in New York in 2000, worldwide sales in this category at Christie’s have grown from $656,000 to over $45 million in 2008.