This is a ‘wish’ that’s come true. Wish Dream, a 16-piece, 24-by-13-ft mural painted by Arpita Singh a decade ago, has sold for R9.6 crore ($2.24 million), setting many records in the process.
The price set a number of records.
It's the highest for an artwork by an Indian woman, eclipsing India-based Bharti Kher's bindi-marked elephant, The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own, which sold for $1.5 million at a Sotheby's auction last June.
Saffronart claimed that the auction, which netted over Rs 30 crore ($7.1 million) through the sale of 80 works, was the largest online auction ever.
The sale also breaks the $2-million barrier for an artist from a different generation. See pics
Singh, 73, is the first of her generation to enter the top bracket that has till now has been ruled by Syed Haider Raza (88), Francis Newton Souza (1922-2002) and Tyeb Mehta (1925-2009).
India's most famous artist in exile, Maqbool Fida Husain, 95, had claimed a Rs 100-crore private commission - but the amount cannot be confirmed.
It's good news for the market as a whole, too.
Dinesh Vazirani, CEO of Saffronart, said, "We are seeing such a revival across the board after two years."
Art writer Kishore Singh said the fact that 56% of the works sold above the expected prices proved that the market was "out of the woods".
Wish Dream is the result of a year's work by Singh. Given the commission in 2000, the artist was spurred by the phrase she had read in a now-forgotten Tibetan play. What did she get from the auction? Nothing.
It was sold by Bodhi Art, and unconfirmed reports say was bought by Malvinder Singh of the Fortis Group. The artist is happy that "The work will stay in India".
Top 5 price-points for Indian art
Syed Haider Raza's Saurashtra, $3.5 million
Francis Newton Souza's Birth, $2.5 million
Raza's La Terre, $2.5 million
Arpita Singh's Wish Dream', $2.2 million
Tyeb Mehta's Untitled (Figure on Rickshaw) $1.9 million
Maqbool Fida Husain's Battle of Ganga and Jamuna: Mahabharata 12, $1.6 millionNote: Auction proceeds realised in different years, not calculated at constant prices