Five bidders, on telephones and in the room, battled closely for Gaitonde’s work. Besides soaring above its pre-sale estimate, the work also broke the previous auction record of Rs.23.70 crore set by the artist at Christie’s inaugural India sale in 2013.
“As leaders in the field of Indian modern and contemporary art, the team has proven that their strategy of ensuring that we offer works of the best quality, competitively priced and with great provenance, continues to be a winning formula for our clients,” said William Robinson, International Head of World Art, speaking after the auction held at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel.
“The results speak for themselves – 73 percent of lots sold above estimate. With each sale, our collectors here increase in number and appetite and the demand for works of top quality is there to be met,” said Robinson.
The auction, which for the first time included classical art, got a roaring reception as the tenth century granite figure of a Dvarapala sold for Rs.1.70 crore.
Christie’s, the world’s largest auction house, made a total sale amounting to a whooping Rs.97.69 crore in the auction.
The works of classical art that were sold on Tuesday cannot be exported, but can still be exchanged in India.
The sale exceeded the pre-sale estimate of Rs.75.6 crore, becoming the highest total for any auction held in India.