June 11 marked an important day for Indian art, as late abstract artist Vasudeo S Gaitonde’s six paintings were auctioned at the Bonhams Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art sale in London for a whopping Rs 8.5 crore. The works, which ranged from Rs 1 crore to Rs 1.5 crore each, were procured directly from American abstract painter Morris Graves, who describes Gaitonde as one of the finest painters he had ever seen.
Two of the untitled artworks by late artist VS Gaitonde that were part of the art sale.
These paintings mark an important point in Gaitonde’s career, as they saw him move from using the figuration form of painting to using ink and roller with a monochrome palette. "Gaitonde’s introspective nature found the engagement with colour and texture a satisfactory way to deal with his canvas surface," says Rajeev Lochan, director, National Gallery of Modern Art, where the paintings were a part of the same set as another accumulation.
One of the works sold for Rs 1.5 crore, three for Rs 1.4 crore and the remaining two for Rs 1.3 crore.
The other highlights of the event included two paintings by late artist Maqbool Fida Hussain — one of which was an untitled portrait and the other was titled ‘Horse’.
These paintings sold for Rs 56 lakh and Rs 47 lakh ­respectively. There was also an untitled painting of birds by Shalir Ali, which sold for Rs 52 lakh.