Artworks by Raza, Souza, Mehta fetch record ₹181 cr

Mumbai’s Pundole’s auction house witnessed an extraordinary surge as artworks by Sayed Haider Raza, Francis Newton Souza, and Tyeb Mehta set new records, propelling modern Indian art to remarkable heights.

Masterpieces Commanding Unprecedented Prices

The recent auction at Mumbai’s Pundole’s auction house made history with exceptional bids for iconic works by three renowned modern Indian artists. Sayed Haider Raza’s masterpiece ‘Gestation’ fetched an astounding ₹51.75 crore, marking the highest-ever sale price for an Indian artwork at an auction. Not to be outdone, Francis Newton Souza’s ‘Hunger’ sold for an impressive ₹34.5 crore, establishing a new world record for the artist’s work. Tyeb Mehta’s sculptural creation ‘Two Heads’ soared to ₹14.95 crore, securing the world auction record for a Modern Indian sculpture. The auction also featured another of Mehta’s creations, the oil on board titled ‘Bull on Rickshaw’, which fetched ₹10 crore.

A Remarkable Auction’s Triumph

The Pundole’s auction proved to be a resounding success, amassing a staggering ₹181 crore, including the buyer’s fee. The fervor and enthusiasm surrounding the event underscored the enduring allure of modern Indian artistry.

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Notable Artworks that Shined

Raza’s ‘Gestation,’ an acrylic on canvas, exceeded expectations by doubling its estimated value. The artwork from 1989 emerged from the prestigious Pundole family collection. Souza’s ‘Hunger,’ an oil on canvas, emerged from the Glenbarra Art Museum collection and was projected to garner ₹12-18 crore. Tyeb Mehta’s ‘Two Heads,’ cast in bronze and created in 1985, hailed from the Glenbarra Art Museum as well, anticipated to fetch between ₹3 crore and ₹5 crore.

The Thriving Landscape of Modern Indian Art

Art critic and curator Uma Nair observed that the South Asian market is burgeoning and increasingly pivotal within the asset class expansion. Emerging second-generation buyers and young millionaires are demonstrating heightened interest and investment in modern Indian art, contributing to the field’s vibrancy.

Embracing Freshness and Historical Significance

Dadiba Pundole, proprietor of Pundole’s Gallery, emphasized the compelling allure of artworks fresh to the market and boasting impeccable, historically relevant provenance. These coveted pieces consistently command substantial premiums during auctions, affirming their enduring appeal.

A Flourishing and Dynamic Indian Art Market

Reflecting on recent trends, Pundole noted the expanding Indian market’s vitality, as it extends recognition to a diverse array of modern artists, transcending conventional choices. The robust growth of this collector base at all tiers of value testifies to a thriving art ecosystem.

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The Legacy of the Progressive Artists’ Group

Uma Nair highlighted the profound impact of The Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG), which emerged in 1947 and included the featured modern Indian artists. This close-knit circle of creators, including M.F. Husain and Sadanand Bakre, fostered camaraderie and mutual encouragement that echoes through their artistic contributions.

Anticipating Future Treasures

Uma Nair shared her anticipation for forthcoming auctions, indicating a diverse selection that caters to both seasoned collectors and newcomers alike. The spotlight will soon turn to Saffronart’s upcoming sale, spotlighting luminaries such as Raza, Husain, Souza, and Ram Kumar’s Kashmir.

A Legacy of Exemplary Prices

This recent auction is not an isolated incident of Indian artworks achieving extraordinary prices. In 2020, a Vasudeo S. Gaitonde painting commanded ₹32 crore, while an M.F. Husain oil-on-canvas creation from 1958 made online history by fetching ₹18.47 crore.

Global Triumphs Continue

Indian artworks continue to make a global impact. In 2021, Sotheby’s Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art auction in London featured Bhupen Khakhar’s ‘Krishna Hotel,’ selling for £1.2 million (₹12.7 crore), six times the pre-auction estimate. Souza’s ‘Red Building’ achieved ₹9.5 crore at the same event.

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Past Pundole’s Successes

In the same year, Pundole’s The Fine Art Sale achieved a remarkable ₹30 crore from eight artworks. A collection from Nandlal Bandhopadhyay and others achieved ₹42.68 crore, surpassing even the most optimistic estimates. In 2018, Christie’s auctioned Raza’s ‘Tapovan’ for ₹29 crore.

The record-breaking auction underscores the dynamic nature of modern Indian art, capturing the world’s attention and cementing its place in the annals of artistic achievement.