A 1991 mural entitled Wish Dream, by Arpita Singh is, at Rs 8-10 crore, the highest-estimated work by an Indian woman artist to ever be offered at an auction globally.
With 100 works on offer, the auction includes an exceptional roster of 45 modern and contemporary artists. Paintings by S H Raza, Akbar Padamsee and Shibu Natesan are among an impressive selection that will go under the hammer. However, none of their estimated values come anywhere close to that of Wish Dream.
Says Dinesh Vazirani, CEO and co-founder of the auction house Saffronart, which is conducting the auction, “While Arpita Singh’s painting is expected to fetch Rs 8-10 crore, the painting that comes closest to it may fetch Rs 1.5 crore.”
Prior to this auction, Singh’s most expensive work has been Munna Apa’s Garden an oil on canvas, which she created in 1989. The painting was auctioned by Sotheby’s as part of their South Asian art auction in New York in September, and fetched over four times its estimated value of $100,000-$150,000 (approximately Rs 69 lakh).
Wish Dream is Singh’s largest work — measuring a towering 24 feet by 13 feet. “It is the most expensive painting we have auctioned, but it’s one of the most significant by any artist in terms of its scale, size and quality. It’s very rare, there’s nothing like it,” justifies Vazirani.
And is he certain that there will be takers for Wish Dream, given its staggering estimate? “I’ve been getting feelers from quite a few prospective buyers, so I’m pretty certain it will fetch its value,” he asserts.