MF Husain painting auctioned for ₹18.5cr
Mumbai: An artwork by the late Maqbool Fida Husain titled Voices sold for Rs 18.47 crore at an online auction on Sunday setting a record for as the highest price ever fetched by any of the artist’s works in a public domain sale.
The oil-on-canvas (18 feet 10 inches) made in 1958, which was part of a private collection till now, went under the hammer for the first time at a two-day AstaGuru auction of 36 lots of the artist’s works, which included toys, jewellery and tapestry designed and co-created by Husain. It was bought by an anonymous buyer.
Voices broke the artist’s existing sale record set by his Battle of Ganga and Jamuna: Mahabharata 12, which fetched Rs 13.44 crore at Saffronart’s March 2020 auction of items seized from the fugitive Indian businessman Nirav Modi’s estate.
The artist made Voices shortly after the Progressive Artists’ Group which he had co-founded with other Indian modernist artists, including FN Souza, SH Raza, KH Ara among others, had disbanded and Husain was beginning to achieve global fame.
The prices quoted are inclusive of buyer’s premium, a percentage charged by the auctioneer on the winning bid amount.
MF Husain, one of India’s leading Modern artists, died in 2011.
“Contrary to expectation, there has been a spate of enthusiastic bidding at auctions recorded post-March,” said Arvind Vijaymohan, CEO of the art research firm Artery India. “This could be on account of euphoric buying to ease the Covid-induced locked-in gloom, or more likely new capital entering the market and being deployed.”
According to the Artery India Price Databank, the auction also set the record for the most expensive work on paper by the artist — a 1956 ink-on-paper titled Between the Spider and the Lamp, a rare preparatory sketch for one of his most well-known works, sold for Rs 83.4 lakh.
The highest selling work of Indian modern art is an untitled painting by VS Gaitonde, which fetched Rs 29.3 crore at a Christie’s auction held in Mumbai in 2015. The second-highest sale recorded is Raza’s Tapovan, which fetched Rs 29.03 crore at another Christie’s auction held in New York, in 2018.