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Gaitonde sets record of $1.5 mn at Christie's

It was followed by the inimitable FN Souza whose Untitled (Seated Nude) of 1962 went for a brilliant $800,000.
None | By Indo-Asian News Service, New York
PUBLISHED ON MAR 31, 2006 01:06 PM IST

Painter Vasudeo S Gaitonde's large abstract oil came under the hammer for $1.472 million at Christie's Asia Week in New York as record-breaking times continued for Indian art.

Zen master Gaitonde's Untitled, 1975 (estimate: $600,000-800,000) work led the way for the world to see at Thursday night's sales of Indian and Southeast Asian Art and Modern and Contemporary Indian Art.

The sale was a world auction record for Gaitonde, who died in 2000.

It was followed by the inimitable FN Souza whose Untitled (Seated Nude) of 1962 went for a brilliant $800,000, from an estimate of $300,000-400,000.

Then came Syed Haider Raza's 'Tarangh', a 1975 work that went for $744,000 from an estimate of $180,000-220,000.

Only on Wednesday, Raza's 'Tapovan' fetched an astounding $1.472 million at Sotheby's spring sale here, while compatriot Tyeb Mehta's 'Falling Figure with Bird' fetched a close $1.24 million.

On Thursday night at Christie's, Raza was again followed by Mehta whose 'Blue Torso', an impassioned work of 1973, went for a hammer price of $632,000 after being estimated for $500,000-700,000.

Maqbool Fida Husain's 'Sita Hanuman', a work done in 1979, went for $576,000, which is just a wee bit above the $300,000-500,000 estimate.

Ram Kumar's Untitled (Benares), a work of 1967, went for $452,800 from an estimated amount of $100,000-150,000.

In terms of records being set, the day shone in Souza's favour because another Untitled work (night landscape with flowering trees), a mesmerising work of 1956, went for $486,400,from an original estimate of $150,000-200,000 while his Untitled (blue cityscape), a work belonging to 1961, went down to the hammer for $374,400 after having been estimated at $100,000-150,000.

'The record-breaking result reinforces Christie's position as the market leader in the field of Contemporary Indian Art. The sky seems to be the limit for this collecting category,' said Christie's.

'With Christie's leading the way into the million-dollar universe last season, when Tyeb Mehta's 'Mahisasura' sold for nearly $1.6 million, this collecting area has grown at an outstanding rate.

'The top prices of the sale were still reserved for the well-known and extremely publicised Progressive Movement artists such as Gaitonde, Souza, Raza, Husain and Ram Kumar, but at the same time we did see a strong surge in both interest and price for next generation contemporary artists such as Subodh Gupta, Rameshwar Broota and Ravinder Reddy who in their own right have changed artistic border.'

'This sales total of $15,627,080 ($15.627 million) is a record for the field of Modern and Contemporary Indian Art,' said Christie's.

The great interest in the morning session generated much excitement for the following sale of Modern and Contemporary Indian Art, which was 99 per cent sold by value and 94 per cent by lot.

'The total result for our seven sales of Asian Art this week is $46,218,400,($46.218 million) the highest ever for Christie's Asia Week in New York,' said Christie's. Its global Asian Art sales in 2005 totalled $336 million, and for the moment Indian art looks red hot.

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