India’s Business Standard finds some encouraging signs in the Summer’s Indian art sales:
Don’t bring out the champagne yet, but there’s reason to raise a toast as those prices begin to claw back again. At the three benchmark auctions this summer, while the soft prices didn’t harden much, there was clear indication that better-quality art was going to find buyers at a rising value.
Top 10 artists by value
Artist Name of work Auctioned by Price (Rs) F N Souza Orange Head Sotheby’s 3.16 crore M F Husain Ragamala Series Christie’s 3.11 crore Jogen Chowdhury Day Dreaming Sotheby’s 2.92 crore V S Gaitonde Untitled Saffronart 1.49 crore Rashid Rana Red Carpet 4 Christie’s 1.37 crore Ram Kumar Untitled (Benares) Christie’s 1.04 crore Subodh Gupta Untitled (Utensils) Saffronart 94.5 lakh M F Husain Untitled Saffronart 91.5 lakh M F Husain Untitled Sotheby’s 85 lakh M F Husain Untitled Sotheby’s 85 lakh
And clearly M F Husain was the darling of the collectors, with many more of his works back on the auction blocks (he had been all but banished by collectors in the wake of a controversy surrounding the naming of one of his works, and is self-exiled in Dubai and London). Though he did not hit the premium jackpot, many of his works did extremely well. While his Ragamala Series, painted in 1954 and considered among his more important paintings, would have commanded at least twice as much in happier times, at Rs 3.11 crore it was a steal for the successful Christie’s bidder, and marks a point of return in the serious stakes for India’s most well-known modern artist. At Sotheby’s, five lesser Husain works between them raked in Rs 3.7 crore. With Saffronart also including him as their third-highest seller, clearly Husain is the flavour of the season.
It’s Husain Season Again (Business Standard)