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Gaitonde Tops International Auctions

India’s foremost abstract artist VS Gaitonde was the highlight of Christie’s South Asian Modern and Contemporary art sale on Tuesday in London.

Written by Pallavi Chattopadhyay | Published: June 14, 2013 12:16 am

India’s foremost abstract artist VS Gaitonde was the highlight of Christie’s South Asian Modern and Contemporary art sale on Tuesday in London. One of his pivotal untitled works was sold for £6,25,875 (Rs 5.6 crore) to a private collector in UK. It is the largest canvas by Gaitonde at an auction that dates back to the 1960s. The painting travels to New York’s Guggenheim Museum next year for a retrospective of the artist. The second highest grosser of the auction was again one of Gaitonde’s works,which fetched £5,29,875 (Rs 4.8 crore).

What surprised many was that a never-seen-before painting by M F Husain titled Ganga Jamuna from the Mahabharata series,which experts had estimated would sell for $1.6 million,remained unsold. Christie’s sale included 19 of the artist’s other work and coincided with Husain’s birth centenary year. Meanwhile,F N Souza’s Red Houses among his seven paintings raised nearly £6,00,000 (Rs 5.4 crore). S H Raza’s street scenes and Rajasthani paintings sold for over £4,00,000 (Rs 3.6 crore).

Gaitonde was the topper of Modern and Contemporary sale by Sotheby’s on the same day when his work,Painting No. 1,of 1962 was sold to a private collector in the US for £6,98,500 (Rs 6.3 crore),which is double its pre-sale estimate.

Husain’s oil on canvas Jhoola,which was acquired during the 1960s from the artist himself,sold for £2,42,500 (Rs 2.2 crore) while Untitled (three women with sitar) received £1,88,500 (Rs 1.7 crore).

Yamini Mehta,Sothebys International Head of Indian and South Asian Art,said,“We were thrilled,but not altogether surprised that Gaitonde’s exquisitely subtle and incandescent Painting No. 1 was the pick of the week’s sales in London.”

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