The results of the Christie’s auction in Mumbai on Thursday have sent the Indian art fraternity in celebration mode, and they say this is only the beginning of a big art boost for the country.
The international art auction house’s first ever event in India saw a record-breaking sale, with Mumbai-based Vasudeo S Gaitonde topping the list and fetching `23.7 cr for his untitled work from 1979. This is the highest price paid in India for a modern work of art, ever since SH Raza’s Saurashtra was sold for `16.4 cr at Christie’s London in 2010. Tyeb Mehta was second on the list, with his work Mahishasura fetching `19.7cr against an estimate of `9.5cr.
“Gaitonde’s work is phenomenal and he deserved it. Credit also goes to Christie’s for ensuring quality and putting up an excellent show,” says Parul Vadehra of the Vadehra Art Gallery, who attended the auction. She adds, “The energy was extraordinary. It was a room packed with bidders, and this is good move ahead of the India Art Fair in January.”
In addition to the records set by Gaitonde and Mehta, more records were broken by the works of Ganesh Pyne, Manjit Bawa, and Bhupen Khakhar. Out of the top 10 buyers, six are Asians. “Our first auction in India shows the huge domestic appetite for works by Indian artists,” says Hugo Weihe, international director of Asian art for Christie’s. “It will only go forward from here. The auction as a pre-cursor to the India Art Fair will only open up windows for other auction houses and international buyers,” says Delhi-based gallerist Bhavna Kakkar.