Indian Paintings Sell for $9.7 Million at Christie’s, Sotheby’s
Paintings by Indian artists including Maqbool Fida Husain and Jehangir Sabavala, who both died this year, fetched $9.7 million in auctions by Sotheby’s (BID) and Christie’s International this week as U.S., European and Asian buyers bid above estimates.
A private U.S. buyer paid the top price of $1.1 million for Husain’s oil painting “Sprinkling Horses.” Husain, who began his career painting movie posters and had no formal training, died in June at the age of 95.
The painting was part of a Christie’s sale this week of South Asian modern and contemporary art that was worth $7.4 million, according to a statement from the auction house. A similar sale by Sotheby’s yesterday in New York was worth $2.3 million, the company said in an e-mailed statement.
Raja Ravi Varma’s picture of a “Himalayan Beauty” went to a private European buyer for $266,500, 78 percent more than its high estimate, Sotheby’s said. The painting passed though the family collection of Varma’s German printing technician. Varma was a self-taught artist who died in 1906.
Syed Haider Raza’s abstract work “Eglise” sold for $362,500 at the Sotheby’s sale. His “Saurashtra” sold for 2.4 million pounds in June 2010 in a Christie’s auction, a record for a modern or contemporary Indian work of art. Raza, 89, graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
“The Cobweb Cloud” by Jehangir Sabavala, whose pictures feature subdued tones and dreamy landscapes, sold for $266,500 at Sotheby’s. The painter, who studied at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London and Academie Julian in Paris, died on Sept. 2.
The Christie’s sale sold 13 of Husain’s works, which fetched a total of $4.2 million. His works sold for a total of $557,500 at the Sotheby’s auction.
In June, a painting of the Hindu goddess Kali by Tyeb Mehta, who died in 2009, sold for $1.3 million, more than three times its estimate, at a $4 million online auction by Mumbai- based Saffronart as demand for Indian artworks increased.
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