Tyeb Mehta’s Kali creates new record, fetches ₹26.4 crore
Indian artists including SH Raza, MF Husain, FN Souza, Manjit Bawa, Nandalal Bose, Akbar Padamsee and Subodh Gupta went on the block during the two-day online auction held on Wednesday and Thursday.
In all, 85% of the lots sold, fetching a total of Rs75 crore.
VS Gaitonde’s 1965 untitled beige-and-white canvas that reflects the artist’s synthesis of eastern and western art philosophies and Raja Ravi Varma’s rare interpretation of Shiva as a divine teacher dating back to 1903 netted Rs 5.94 crore and Rs 3.6 crore respectively.
The auction set world records for five other artists - NS Bendre, M V Dhurandhar, Sankho Chaudhuri, Sheila Makhijani and Dhananjay Singh.
Among the sculptures up for sale, Gupta’s Hungry God (2005-06) led the show. The 8.6-foot tall sculpture made with stainless steel utensils netted Rs 1.46 crore.
This auction marks 18 years since the Mumbai-based auction house was launched by the husband-wife duo of Dinesh and Minal Vazirani, giving India its first online art auction house.
Over the years, Saffronart diversified from a portfolio of purely modern and contemporary art to include antiquities, books, textiles, folk and tribal art. It also adopted a hybrid model that converges online and offline auctions.
This auction was conducted entirely online. “Our focus has been to make the best of Indian art accessible to audiences around the world,” Dinesh said. “Back then, we were told this concept wouldn’t work.”
However, their first online had sales amounting to $100,000. “At that time, the modern and contemporary Indian art auction market was globally valued at less than $2 million,” says Minal. “We like to think we helped change how Indian art is acquired.”
(Above) Subodh Gupta’s Hungry God and Tyeb Mehta’s Kali.