The summer auction at Saffron Art is the harbinger of good news for all those invested in art: the art market has risen out of its slump and sales are brisk. Although the trend is towards the Moderns, the works of Contemporary artists have made a brave entry into the market, and the bidding seen online indicated a re-emergence of interest in the Contemporaries—albeit after a bit of price correction.
The auction, front-lined artists like Subodh Gupta from India, Rashid Rana from Pakistan and Begam Tayyaba Lipi from Bangladesh, who set records for themselves in previous auctions. However, majority of the sales was covered by the Moderns whose work outdid expectations. The top five pieces that sold have fetched INR 11 crores which is half of the total amount sold. The Total amount of lots sold were 83, bringing the overall sales to 70% at INR 22 crores.
Bagging the top bid Tyeb Mehta’s Falling Figure went at INR 4,27,000 INR (667500 USD). Predictably F N Souza’s painting, The Remark went for INR 2,45,76,000 (384000 USD). Known as the Infant Terrible the founder member of the Progressives, Souza reigned supreme since his work Herald was the third highest bid at 2,11,20,768 INR. Bringing up the rear Akbar Padamsee’s Landscape, sold at INR 1,08,00,384 (168,756 USD). This was closely followed by Ram Kumar’s Leh at INR 1,08,00,000. Additionally, Ganesh
Pyne, Thota Vaikuntam and B Prabah did well were.
Among the contemporary artists, Subodh Gupta’s work rose to the occasion with his oil on canvas Sat Samunder Par (9) selling at INR 71,04,000 above the reserve prices of 60,00,000 INR. Other Contemporaries to do well were artists like Atul Dodiya (INR 33.8 lakhs USD 52,800), Senaka Senanayake (INR 7.29 lakhs, USD 11,400), Valay Shinde (INR 43 lakhs, USD 67,500), Surendra Nair, Bharti Kher, Adeela Suleman, Tayeba Begum Lipi (5.95/USD 9,300), Rashid Rana, Arunkumar H G and Prajakta Potnis.
“We are delighted to see renewed interest across the board. Works by the modernists exceeded our expectations, and the enthusiasm for contemporary art was truly heartening. The international audience responded well to the selection. It sends a clear message: that a mix of top-notch works by a range of artists, presented with well-documented information, strikes the right chord with buyers and appeals to a broadening base of collectors,” says Abha Housego Sales Lead and Head, Saffronart UK.
The market for contemporary Indian art is seeing a revival. “Collectors are interested in standout works by contemporary artists. They are increasingly in the spotlight due to the combined efforts of biennales, art foundations, art fairs, international institutions and galleries in South Asia Auction houses can also help kindle an interest by featuring a carefully considered selection of works in auctions,” adds Weihe.
Participants were from around the world, with new bidders from Singapore, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Hong Kong and Switzerland. 25% bids were placed through Saffronart’s mobile application. This indicates that the art market is finally ready to shop online across borders.