On 17th and 18th March 2015 Sotheby’s two sales of Indian Art brought the outstanding total of $16,632,875, comfortably exceeding the high estimate for the auctions. The sales were led by the extraordinarily rare Untitled (Self-portrait)by Amrita Sher-Gil which sold for $2,920,000, well over the $1.2/1.8 million estimate and a new record for any Indian female artist. Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art brought $10,589,000, the highest total for a Sotheby’s sale in the category since 2007 and a 60% increase on the equivalent sale last season, a result that was largely driven by the entry of several major new collectors into the market.
This March, Sotheby’s auction of Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art will be led by Amrita Sher-Gil’s stunning self-portrait of 1933. In life and art, Sher-Gil was a woman both within and ahead of her time, breaking boundaries that make her one of India’s most compelling figures of the 20th Century. A slight hint of an enigmatic smile and a mischievous twinkle in her eye, make this charming painting, one of the very few such works in existence outside of India, a leading example of Sher-Gil’s oeuvre. Two very significant private collections will also be featured, including an important group of works by Rabindranath Tagore from the collection of Anil Kumar Chanda and Ranee Chanda who were both close associates of Tagore and lifelong adherents of his philosophy. The auction will also include remarkable paintings belonging to a private German family collection, highlighted by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde’s sublime untitled painting from 1963, which hails from a very important moment in the artist’s career; featuring his early experimentations with non-objectivism. Rendered in varying shades of red strewn with black, this work is a classic and timeless masterpiece. Other paintings from private collections by leading modernists including Jehangir Sabavala, Krishen Khanna, Ram Kumar, Francis Newton Souza, Maqbool Fida Husain and Jagdish Swaminathan will also be featured. The sale will additionally include a dynamic selection of works by leading contemporary artists such as Jitish Kallat, Subodh Gupta and Sudhir Patwardhan.