New Delhi: An ethereal artwork by modern Indian master Vasudeo S Gaitonde fetched over USD 2.5 million at the recent sale by global auctioneers Sotheby's in New York.
Gaitonde's 'Painting No 3', was the cover lot for the Modern and Contemporary South Asian art sale on March 19, which raked in over USD 6.6 million sales well within the pre-sale estimate of USD 5.3 million to USD 7.8 million, the auctioneers said.
Gaitonde is set to the subject of a major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York this autumn, making him one of the first Modern Indian artists to be have a retrospective in the United States.
Yamini Mehta, International Department Head, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, said "Our sale had all the hallmarks of a strong result - quality works that were fresh to market with attractive prices. Bidders from around the world responded in kind, with over 90 per cent of our lots sold by value. Over 97 per cent of lots sold achieved prices at or above their pre-sale estimate."
Priyanka Mathew, Vice President, Head of Sales, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, said, "It was an honour to accept the winning bid for our museum-quality Gaitonde which sold for over USD 2.5 million, a further privilege to be the first South Asian auctioneer to take a bid over USD 1 million for an Indian work of art.
"While our sale was uniformly strong throughout, we saw particularly active bidding and engagement for the portraiture section, alongside works by South Indian masters and particularly impressive results for our contemporary offering," she said.
"Buffalo Among Flower Bed" a rare early landscape by Bhupen Khakkar sourced from the collection of Johanna Nestor Austria's ambassador to India from 1966 to 1970, exceeded pre sale estimates to go under the hammer for USD293,000.
"Sweatopia" by contemporary artist Jitish Kallat fetched USD 2,21,000 while S H Raza's Untitled fetched USD 2,21,000.
Francis Newton Souza's Untitled (Landscape) sold for USD 221,000, Manjit Bawa "Untitled" sold for USD 209,000.
Other sales include Subodh Gupta's 2007 work "Idol Thief III" which went for USD 185,000 to a private Asian buyer. M F Husain's "Untitled (Three Horses)" went for USD 161,000 to a private Indian buyer, the auctioneers said in a statement.