A bronze sculpture of Parvati, standing a little over 2.5-ft tall, fetched a hammer price of Rs5.40 crore at a live auction of Indian classical art held at the Saffronart gallery in Dadar on Monday
“The sale of the bronze has set a record for the highest price paid for an Indian sculpture sold at auction within the country,” said CEO of Saffronart Hugo Weihe.
A hammer price, incidentally, is the declared price at auction before taxes and levies. The sculpture was hotly contested, with auctioneer Weihe prodding the bidders to outdo one another.
“One small step for you, one large step for Parvati,” he said at one point, to laughter in the auction house.
The bronze dates back to the 15th-to-16th century, and was expected to fetch between Rs 80 lakh and Rs 1.20 crore. As is usually the case in such big-ticket buys, the buyers remained anonymous. Bidding was carried out in person, online and over the telephone.
“I’m not surprised at all that the sculpture generated such interest,” said Weihe, after the auction.
Retrieved from the private collection of Sohrabji K Bhedwar, the architect most famous for designing the Eros theatre in Mumbai, the sculpture was considered a masterpiece of the Vijayanagar period.
Other items that went under the hammer at the auction included Indian miniatures, Ramgopal Vijaivargiya paintings and documents on Amrita Shergill. There were 70 lots in all; 42 of them from the private collection of the late Colonel RK Tandan, who died in 2009 and was one of the preeminent collectors and scholars of Indian miniature painting in India.