Masterpieces by one of India's most important modern artists Vasudeo S Gaitonde were sold for about $ 3.75 million at leading auction houses in New York, an affirmation of the strong and buoyant market for South Asian contemporary art.
Bonhams, one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques, said a 1961 'Untitled' oil on canvas by Gaitonde sold for $ 1.08 million while another 1963 'Untitled' painting by the artist sold for $ 1.68 million at an auction of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art yesterday.
Leading auction house Christie's also offered for auction an 'Untitled' oil on canvas signed and dated 'V S Gaitonde 71' valued at $ 750,000- $ 900,000. The painting sold for $ 965,000.
Another painting 'Kaltura' by Gaitonde, valued at between $ 4,000- $ 6,000, sold for $ 15,000.
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Deepanjana Klein, International Head of South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art at Christie's, said that the sale demonstrated international interest, with clients bidding aggressively for works across all mediums.
The "enthusiasm and energy.... affirmed this strong and buoyant market."
Among the paintings up for auction at the two houses were works by some of the greatest Indian artists including M F Hussain and Syed Haidar Raza.
Bonhams had said the two Gaitonde paintings were created at a "dramatic turning point" in the artist's career.
The auction house's Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian department, has uncovered a vast trove of never-before published documents and correspondence from the famously reclusive artist that will feature in a limited edition catalog of 500 copies dedicated exclusively to the two paintings.
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"We are honored to be presenting these works by Gaitonde at an opportune time in the market. The research we have conducted has shed new light on the artist's life and interactions with other artists at a pivotal stage of his career. The early reaction to the previews staged in London and New York indicate that there will be strong competition," head of the department Edward Wilkinson had said.
The auction house said Gaitonde has "finally arrived on the international stage" with a retrospective at the prestigious Guggenheim museum opening on October 24.
His 'non-objective' style, inspired by Swiss painter Paul Klee and Zen philosophy, is recognized for its powerful simplicity and emotional impact.
American artist Morris Graves, who once owned the paintings, said: "They are the most beautiful landscapes of the mind."
Born in 1924, Gaitonde was in his late 30s when he created the paintings.
"Gaitonde's international reputation today is the result of his lifelong and uncompromising pursuit of excellence. His chosen path fraught with difficulties was his unwavering commitment to the idiom of abstraction," the house said.