Eagle-eyed Colin Gleadell has a great item today following up on Sotheby’s unexpectedly successful New York Modern and Contemporary South Asian art sale two weeks ago. The $6.5m sale found buyers for 91% of the lots. Gleadell identified one of the sellers. It turns out the the collector did very well for himself:Continue Reading
There’s a new top dog in the Indian Modern Masters league. S.H. Raza’s work Saurashtra just brought in a record$3.49m. Here’s the Times of India on the story:
Just two summers back, a work by Francis Newton Souza had set the record for the most expensive piece of modern art by notching up $2.5 million or Rs 10.5 crore. Since then, prices of Indian art had crashed though the fall in contemporary art was much more drastic than the moderns. Continue Reading
[private_subscriber][private_bundle]Sayed Haider (S.H.) Raza is one of several Indian abstract painters who exploded onto the international art scene in 2005. Before that year, only 45 of his works had sold at auction. Since then, he has averaged about 100 appearances on the block annually. During the boom, the value fetched by his works at auction mirrored his volume’s meteoric rise (Fig. 13): Between 2005 and 2006, his average prices rose from $97,397 to $153,825 and his total sales increased from $6,330,797 to $17,228,451.
However, as Raza’s lot volume increased, so too did his buy-in rates (Fig. 15). Last year, about 30% of his work did not find buyers, and although that rate was an improvement from 2008, it is a far cry from his lean 2005 buy-in rate of 7%.
Christie’s is hoping for a Raza rebound. The house, which has sold 40% of Raza’s value since 2005, is picturing Gestation, a 1989 acrylic on canvas by the artist, on the cover of its Modern and Contemporary South Asian sale catalogue. The work’s eye-popping estimate of $600,000 to $800,000 is rare for a Raza, whose average mid-estimate, even during his peak year of 2008, was $129,907 (Fig. 14). Only 7 of the 551 Razas ever offered at auction have carried estimates in excess of $600,000 and 70% of those highly estimated lots were significantly larger than Gestation, which measures 39 3/8 by 78 3⁄4 inches (about 3101 square inches). The average price for a Raza between 3,000 and 4,000 square inches is $380,935, and the most a Raza measuring under 4,000 square inches has ever brought at auction is $1,056,250 (Fig. 16)—a price earned by the artist’s Germination at Saffronart in June 2008.
However, Christie’s should be wary of using Germination as the basis for its estimate. Since Raza’s prices showed regressive patterns last year, the expectation of a 2008 performance from a 2010 lot seems like a risky bet
India’s Economic Times interviewed S.H. Raza on the occasion of his visit to his homeland. He tells the story of how he came to live in France:
The Progressive Artists’ Group was born out of an intense passion within us to create paintings independently without being influenced by what we learnt at art school. Which meant the realism of western art. For us, it was an perception of antar gyan (inner knowledge). For them, it was largely what you saw with the eyes. We staged our first exhibition in Bombay in 1948. […] Each of us was working in our own direction. And, we would meet sometimes to share thoughts. Things were getting internalised. Then, Souza left for London, while I chose to go to France.Continue Reading