Manjeet Bawa’s oil-on-canvas sold for Rs7.8 crore, a record for the artist | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Manjeet Bawa’s oil-on-canvas sold for Rs7.8 crore, a record for the artist

The sale was part of auction house AstaGuru’s 10th anniversary online sale held over Monday and Tuesday. The battle for this work went beyond the stipulated closing time for the auction.

mumbai Updated: Mar 29, 2018 09:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Expected to fetch about Rs 3.5 crore, it eventually went for a whopping Rs 7.78 crore, creating a new world record for the artist.
Expected to fetch about Rs 3.5 crore, it eventually went for a whopping Rs 7.78 crore, creating a new world record for the artist.

What happens when two buyers get into a battle of bids for an artwork? They could end up creating a record for the artist.

That’s what happened with renowned artist Manjit Bawa’s untitled oil-on-canvas, created in 2000, depicting Vishnu reclining on a bed of snakes with a beast in the background. Expected to fetch about Rs 3.5 crore, it eventually went for a whopping Rs 7.78 crore, creating a new world record for the artist. (His previous record was Rs 5 crore, for a 1998 untitled Krishna and cow painting auctioned by Christie’s in New York last year.)

The sale was part of auction house AstaGuru’s 10th anniversary online sale held over Monday and Tuesday. The battle for this work went beyond the stipulated closing time for the auction.

“We never expected that it would sell at this price,” says Tushar Sethi, director of AstaGuru. “The winning bid was placed by a buyer who shuttles between India and London.”

Of the 52 lots by Indian Modernists on the block — including paintings by VS Gaitonde, Tyeb Mehta, SH Raza, FN Souza, MF Husain, Raja Ravi Varma and Jehangir Sabavala — 47 found buyers. The art sale generated Rs 89 crore in all.

The top netter was Tyeb Mehta’s 2000 creation from his Bull series, which had a reserve price of Rs 18 crore and fetched almost Rs 20 crore. Raza’s La Provence Noire (1965) sold for Rs 8.21 crore; an untitled VS Gaitonde from 1998 fetched Rs 11.5 crore; and Husain’s Ganeshji (1970), depicting the festive aura of the elephant-headed deity with a vibrant colour palette, fetched Rs 1.1 crore.

Bikash Bhattacharjee’s work also created a world record for the artist. A painting from his celebrated Doll series — nocturnal landscapes strewn with dolls created in early 1970s in response to political violence in Kolkata at the time — was expected to fetch Rs 60 lakh but went for Rs 1.27 crore.

Bhattacharjee’s previous record was for Durga in the Morning (1990), which fetched Rs 89 lakh at an AstaGuru auction last year.