Saffronart's auction of paintings touches a high

Saffronart's online auction of the works of young Indian artists saw Atul Dodiya's works fetch the highest bids - crossing the unbelievable Rs 10 mn mark.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2006 14:36 IST

Saffronart's online auction of the works of young Indian artists saw Atul Dodiya's works fetch the highest bids - crossing the unbelievable Rs 10 million mark ($225,000).

The two-day largest ever auction of works of young Indian artists - 125 works by 44 artists - saw Dodiya's 1987 oil on canvas "As though he listened" fetch the highest bid Thursday night.

According to Saffron, "the closing bid (for the work) came in at 9.30 pm and is Rs 12.1 million." The work was estimated at Rs 35,000-40,000.

According to Saffronart director Dinesh Vazirani, 425 people were online bidding for Indian contemporary art.

Dodiya was the star among India's young artists. Another work of his, "The Kitchen", which was on the cover of the handsome catalogue, almost touched Rs.10 million - it fetched over Rs 9.7 million.

With this, the 47-year-old Dodiya becomes the first young artist (besides veterans like MF Husain, Tyeb Mehta and SH Raza) to reach the Rs 10 million mark.

Dodiya, who was worth Rs 200,000 at a 2002 auction, can now boast of being a coveted artist whose works can fetch a price that veterans have just touched.

Vazirani says: "We were quite sure about Atul. He has been making waves with his works. The interesting thing about Atul is change. He explores and creates his own boundaries.

"This work (the 1987 work) is special since it's from an earlier period and serious collectors who don't have this period are willing to go the extra mile to acquire it."

The other feature in Dodiya's favour is that he has recently garnered a lot of acclaim internationally with a recent show of "Sabari" at STPI, Singapore, in collaboration with Bodhi Art, apart from shows in Britain and the US.

Other artists, including Dodiya's wife Anju, also did well at the auction.

The 1964-born Anju's work "Pillory" a water colour and charcoal on paper work, fetched a stupendous Rs 9.6 million at the end of the evening. Anju set a record becoming the first young Indian woman artist to fetch such a price. The work was estimated at Rs 18,000-22,000.

Baroda-based artist Anandajit Ray's work, estimated at Rs 450,000-550,000 in the auction catalogue, had moved up to Rs 3.3 million. Last minute bids for Baiju Parthan, GR Iranna, Manish Pushkale and Jagannath Panda sailed way past the base estimates.

The works of Bose Krishnamachari, Justin Ponmany, Surendran Nair and Jittish Kallat fetched double their estimates. Manisha Parekh trebled hers, and others like Anjum Singh, Sunil Padwal and Baiju Parthan simply sold way over.

A number of these names were part of a prestigious Young Progressives show taken by Saffronart and Bodhi Art to New York and Singapore.

With this, Saffron has opened the doors for artists in their 30s and 40s, who have come of age.

Subodh Gupta's painting of milk pails went for Rs 2.8 million, and his installation of two bicycles with mail cans, set a new high with Rs 6 million.

Gallery prices of Subodh have been Rs 1.5 million.

"If the money kept pouring in, it was as much a tribute to Dinesh Vazirani's networking skills as it was to the global recognition of Indian art, particularly contemporary art, shorn of the baggage of old masters," said an art critic in Delhi.

"The auction will see a lot of new highlights, with price records across the board," Vazirani had predicted on the eve of the two-day auction - and he was proved right.

"The Indian market is particularly strong now," Vazirani said. An estimated 40 per cent of the auction's buyers were from India. Of the balance, 60 per cent were from overseas with a fairly large - 20 per cent - being non-Indian.

First Published: Mar 17, 2006 14:36 IST