International auction house Christie’s is set to hold its second Indian art sale in the city on Thursday at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, Colaba.
The first auction last year saw 98% of the lots sold, with a Gaitonde fetching more than Rs23.70 crore — setting a new record for the highest price paid in India for a modern artwork.
On the block this time are 80 works by artists like VS Gaitonde, Tyeb Mehta, MF Husain, FN Souza and Ram Kumar. Based on the opening bids, Tyeb Mehta’s Falling Bull is expected to rake in the most — an estimated Rs8.5 crore to Rs12 crore.
“Mehta created just 300 works in his lifetime. After this work is sold, it may not be seen on the market again for at least a decade,” said Deepanjana Klein, international head of Christie’s department of modern and contemporary Indian art.
Another highlight of this auction is the sale of an artefact: a hand-written journal that belonged to Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Written-in in Bengali, the leather-bound journal features a mix of poetry and doodles, amid details of mundane land deals and tax accounts. It is expected to fetch between Rs 40 lakh and Rs 60 lakh.
This book, along with paintings by Jamini Roy, Gaganedranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose, are categorised as national art treasures and cannot be taken out of the country.
Another section of 10 contemporary art works by the likes of Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher and Anish Kapoor will be auctioned to raise funds for Khoj, an experimental art space in Delhi. “The artists have agreed to give all the proceeds to us,” said Pooja Sood, Khoj director.