Vigorous bidding for modern art from India marked the recent Asia Week art auctions in New York courtesy Sotheby's. Christie's opened their Asian sales on a strong note, too. The UK Financial Times news report underlines the art market’s return to seriousness. It notes:
“With low-ball estimates, top-quality works and the chance to buy from a renowned collection, bidding ignited, with 15 interested parties battling for some lots. There is a new seriousness among buyers.”A recent Business Week write-up points out that the sellers appear to be back, and experts see clear signs of recovery. For instance, a Manjit Bawa 1999 oil painting went for $ 360,000, almost double the high estimate, whereas two paintings by M. F. Husain fetched $ 150,000 and $ 210,000, compared to the high estimate of $ 80,000 and $ 120,000 dollar, respectively. A large acrylic painting ‘Gestation’ by Raza fetched close to million dollars compared to a pre-sale estimate of $ 600,000-800,000.
The recent Osian’s Masterpieces Series Auction had on offer a wide range of fine art by some of India’s Modern & Contemporary Art masters. The proportion of lots sold was close to 60%. The major, high-value lots witnessed vigorous bids. Saffronart in its Spring Online Auction managed to sell 75% of the lots, totaling $ 4.6 million. Roughly 60% of them exceeded their high estimates.
Subodh Gupta's ‘Doot’ fetched $391,000 against a high estimate of $ 240,000. Akbar Padamsee's 1953 portrait, ‘Prophet’ (a winning bid of $ 278,875, three times more than its higher estimate $ 80,000), Husain's 1970s Untitled (a winning bid of over $ 400,000, with a high estimate of $ 266,670), and F. N. Souza's ‘Decomposing Head’ that went for $ 350,750, exceeding its high estimate of $ 250,000) were no exceptions.