Published: October 7, 2003
– Christie’s conducted a sale of Indian and Southeast Asian Art including Twentieth Century Indian Paintings on September 17. The sale totaled $4,405,917. There were 210 lots offered and 134 of those sold. All prices cited include the buyer’s premium.
Hugo Weihe, international head of the Indian and Southeast Asian Art department said, “This sale was the second strongest sale in the field of Indian and Southeast Asian Art at Christie’s ever and achieved the highest average lot value. Indian art performed extremely well, led by the world auction record for a Chola bronze obtained for the cover lot, Shiva as the Lord of Music.
“Early sculpture from Sri Lanka, Gandhara and Nepal was also eagerly sought after with new collectors entering the market at a high level. Equally gratifying was the highly successful afternoon session devoted to Twentieth Century Indian paintings. Several world auction records were set, notably for Raja Ravi Varma, V.S. Gaitonde, Bhupen Khakhar, Francis Newton Souza and Akbar Padamsee and strong pieces were achieved by the early works of Maqbool Fida Husain.”
European buyers won the top four lots. A bronze figure of Shiva as the Lord of Music, Vinadhara, South India, Chola period, went far beyond its presale estimate of $400/600,000 to reach $724,300. This was a world auction record for a Chola bronze.
An American buyer spent $119,500 for a Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), “Court Scene,” oil on canvas ($100/150,000). This was a world auction record for the artist. Later in the sale the record was tied with the artist’s “Nala and Damayanti,” which also sold to an American buyer.
A green schist figure of Buddha, Gandhara, Third/Fourth Century, sold for $119,500 ($100/150,000), also to an American. An Asian buyer purchased an acrylic on canvas triptych entitled “Mahi-shasura,” by Tyeb Mehta (born 1925). It brought $119,500 ($80/90,000). “Bulls,” an oil on canvas by Maqbool Fida Husain (born 1915) sold for $107,550, far more than its $18/24,000 presale estimate.
Another world auction record was set when Vasuedo S. Gaitonde’s (1924-2001), untitled oil on canvas sold for $101,575 ($65/75,000) to a private buyer in the UK.
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