Top 10 Jewels in the Crown of Christie’s – The India Sale

In the dizzying whirlpool of daily life activities, a glimpse of a painting, a sculpture or any other piece of art, quenches our thirst for beauty and reconciles our lost creative passions. However, the apparent purpose of art is not limited to that. Christie’s illustrious annual art auction in Mumbai was a testament to the fact that art can be a great financial investment too. Around 150 lots were auctioned from the collection of the Poddar Family, Royal Court Paintings collected by Colonel R.K. Tandan and bronzes from the Collection of Sohrab K. Bhedwar, fetching over Rs. 70 crores in total. The sale included paintings by eminent artists like Vasudeo Gaitonde, whose paintings have been one of the highest valued in India.

With the art market emerging as one of the new sought-after areas of investment and opening up of numerous avenues for individuals from all income levels to invest in art, the auction proved that when done right, art investments can fetch multifold returns, higher than any other form of investment. Here are Eikowa’s top 10 picks from the auction:

1.

Artist: Arpita Singh

Title: Untitled

Medium: Oil on canvas

Year: 1976

Price realized: Rs. 47,50,000

This untitled painting by Arpita Singh, a renowned artist and Padma Bhushan awardee, carries a distinct flavor of the indelible impression on Arpita’s mind of her time spent as a textile designer at the Weavers’ Service Centre in the 1960s. The intricate patterns gently weaved in the softly gradated hues of the painting reflect the various Indian cloth making traditions and fabric construction techniques that Singh learnt at the Centre. Taken from the collection of Abhishek Poddar and his wife, who are close family friends with Arpita and her husband Paramjit Singh, this painting is one of the many pieces of art that she created on Abhishek’s request.

2.

Artist: Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003)

Title: Interior of a Temple

Medium: Mixed media on board

Year: 1965

Price realized: Rs. 2,67,25,000

Bhupen Khakhar, an internationally renowned artist of Indian contemporary art, created this painting at a time in his career when he was experimenting with bold palettes and unique representations of traditional themes, which finally culminated in the establishment of his famous signature style. Part of the works that were exhibited in Khakhar’s first solo show at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai in 1965, the style of this painting mimics a collage with contemporary creative touches.

3.

Artist: Tyeb Mehta (1925-2009)

Title: Untitled

Medium: Oil on canvas

Year: 1975

Price realized: Rs. 10,23,25,000

Tyeb Mehta, an eminent painter and part of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, was one of the first post-colonial generations of artists in India. Known for his profound portrayal of human struggles in society, he created this painting post his radical departure in the 1960s from an expressionistic style into this new series of paintings marked by a diagonal line dividing the canvas into two.

4.

Artist: Francis Newton Souza (1924-2002)

Title: Untitled

Medium: Oil on canvas

Year: 1962

Price realized: Rs. 1,47,25,000

F. N. Souza was one of the first post-independence Indian artists to achieve high recognition in the West. Known for his use of multiple fingers, eyes and other distorted human bodily manifestations in his paintings to comment on the state of the human society, he created this painting – a part of a group of large, disfigured ‘heads’ – at the peak of his career.

5.

Artist: Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (1924-2001)

Title: Untitled

Medium: Oil on canvas

Year: 1973

Price realized: Rs. 11,43,25,000

Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, regarded as one of India’s foremost abstract painters, holds a record for an Indian artist’s painting selling for US$3.5 million at Christie’s debut auction in India. The present painting, completed by him in 1973, is a reflection of the time when Gaitonde had achieved mastery over exquisitely intricate textures and a sophisticated play of colors and light in his work.

6.

Artist: Ganesh Pyne (1937-2013)

Title: Untitled

Medium: Tempera on canvas

Year: Late 1960s

Price realized: Rs. 2,37,25,000

Ganesh Pyne, one of the most notable contemporary artists of the Bengal School of Art and a reclusive personality, shared an intimate friendship with the collector Abhishek Poddar, with whom he spent several hours in his studio. Hence, this painting, one of the early works depicting Pyne’s version of the ‘Samudra Manthan’ – the whirlpool stirred in the ocean as described in various ancient Hindu mythological texts, ended up being a part of Poddar’s collection.

7.

Artist: Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (1924-2001)

Title: Untitled

Medium: Oil on canvas

Year: 1974

Price realized: Rs. 15,63,25,000

Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, a Padma Shree awardee and an invitee to join the influential Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, painted this painting at a time in his career when he was just completing about five to six works per year. The painting is a representation of the time when Gaitonde’s creative process was at the pinnacle of its evolution and divided into deep plunges into the formulation of the concept, the gestation and proliferation of the painting’s notion in his own being before he put brush to the canvas.

8.

Artist: Syed Haider Raza (1922-2016)

Title: Bija

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

Year: 1992

Price realized: Rs. 1,47,25,000

Syed Haider Raza, a co-founder of the revolutionary Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG) and a Padma Vibhushan awardee, created this painting post his radical shift from an expressionistic style to the abstract exploration of the untapped creative potential of geometrical designs. His fascination with the point, the circle, the horizontal and vertical lines, triangles and squares is evident in this piece of art that carries a profound spiritual message transcending the lines and angles.

9.

Artist: Ram Kumar

Title: Untitled

Medium: Oil on canvas

Year: 1977

Price realized: Rs. 75,00,000

Ram Kumar, a great artist and writer is believed to be one of India’s first artists to give up figurative styles for abstract art. This painting belongs to an era of his career when he had completely devoted himself to the abstract portrayal of the sights of Benaras, a city draped in holy reverence but at the same time hiding blatant disparities of the basic virtues of life.

10.

Artist: Jehangir Sabavala (1922-2011)

Title: Under the Shadow of… IV

Medium: Oil on canvas

Year: 1989

Price realized: Rs. 3,63,25,000

Jehangir Sabavala, a Padma Shree Indian artist and a Lalit Kala Ratna, created this landscape as a part of a series of paintings completed in the late 1980s characterized by vast areas of delicately rising and ebbing colors, linear orientations and subtle intertwining of shadows and light. The image surfacing from the canvas is one striking with a pleasing impetus but at the same time taming the land, sky and water in a subdued air.

The above art picks and numerous others at the Chritie’s – The India Sale provide testament to the fact that as a long-term investment, the art market can bring about colossal returns for the collector. No matter how big or small the investment, the key is to start early and follow one’s unique taste in the infinite world of art. Eikowa provides a wealth of exquisite art to choose from, catering to personalized buying requirements to help you get started on this supremely gratifying journey. 

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