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AstaGuru 2021: A Year in Rewind
By Anandita Bhardwaj
01 Jan 2022
As the year comes to an end, we look back in gratitude to all that we experienced and learnt from the year. The world grappled with another pandemic wave and humankind emerged triumphantly in the face of the calamity. The strive to survive in the post-covid world has also given us a new awareness about cherishing things we deem precious. At AstaGuru, overcoming the challenges reinforced our commitment to showcase timeless treasures to our clients. With nine exclusive auctions, we also ventured into different segments to cater to a wider, discerning audience.
We started the year by introducing a new category, Opulent Collectibles to our portfolio. It featured a range of exquisite antique furniture and home décor from across the globe and was very well-received. The highest sale value was registered with an Italian Cut- And Beaded- Glass Campana Urns On Mirrored Pedestals. The piece came from the personal collection of the famous fashion designer Fred Leighton. This lot was sold for an amount of INR 1,37,65,500. The collection also included several exclusive pieces including a Large Pair Of Jade Buddhist Temple Lions which were acquired for INR ₹ 39,84,750.
The first Modern Indian Art Auction for the year held in March was a white-glove sale. The carefully curated auction catalogue featured an impressive collection of works by leading modernists, several of which made their auction debut. Leading the auction were two works by master abstractionist V S Gaintonde that were acquired at INR 14,12,77,500 and INR 13,80,00,000 respectively. The auction generated a total revenue of INR 70,68,39,061 crores.
In the month of May we hosted our Heirloom Jewellery and Exceptional Timepieces which is a category that has grown exceptionally well over the past few years. To meet the growing demand for the segment, we decided to host two auctions in the category, one in the of May and the other in the month of October.
The meticulous curation for the auctions showcased a diverse heirloom & vintage jewellery featuring some of the highest quality gemstones from across the globe. The collection celebrated rich jewellery craftsmanship from Europe and the Indian sub-continent with traditional Indian masterpieces and Art Deco period designs.
Both the auction witnessed several important pieces. A Rare Diamond, Ruby, Pearl & Enamel Guluband which was sold at INR 1,52,22,392. An impressive two-row Basra pearl necklace generated INR 1,50,56,016. An elegant diamond-studded Piaget 18K white gold wristwatch was also auctioned for an impressive value of INR 1,10,93,071. Another important two row zambian emerald bead necklace was acquired at INR 1,37,65,500.
In the month of June, we hosted our Collectors Choice Modern Indian Art auction which achieved excellent results and generated a sales total of INR 27,04,64,535 Crores (US$ 3,809,286). Leading the sale was a work by F N Souza, one of India’s most distinguished modernists and a member of the Progressive Artists' Group (PAG). His ‘Fan Dancer’ (Lot 110) from 1962 was auctioned for INR 1,19,10,336 Crores (US$ 167,750). During this edition, we established two auction world records for artists H A Gade and Paritosh Sen.
The momentum for the latter part of the year was set with the immensely successful second edition of the Modern Indian Art Auction in September. Achieving a ‘White Glove Sale,’ the auction generated an outstanding revenue of INR 42,69,72,421 crores. The highlight was lot no. 28, M F Husain’s Untitled,1972, an iconic anti-war painting that was a response to the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. This extraordinary composition is a highly significant work from Husain’s oeuvre, originally from the Pitti family collection. It was offered at auction for the very first time and was realized at INR 3,45,00,000 crores (US$ 479,166). The auction also set 4 world records for artists Meera Mukherjee, Laxma Goud, and Badri Narayan.
This auction was followed by our first ever ‘Present Future’ Contemporary Art Auction which was the largest contemporary art sale held in India. Featuring 120 works from leading art practitioners, the collection presented an eclectic range of paintings, sculptures, and works in other mediums that showcased the diversity of contemporary art in the present time. Among the most valuable sold lots of the auction, a work by eminent Indian contemporary artist Subodh Gupta titled ‘Orange Thing (Ed : 2/3)’ was realised at INR 1,80,67,219. A work by artist Bharti Kher, titled ‘An Eye, A Tooth’ – the diptych wooden panel done in the artist’s signature style bindi work achieved a sale price of INR 1,32,49,293.
After our second Heirloom Jewellery and Exceptional Timepieces auction in October, AstaGuru hosted another Collectors Choice: Modern Indian Art auction in November. With an extensive collection of 160 artworks by celebrated artists, the online auction witnessed an overwhelming response and generated proceeds of INR 28,99,87,021 (USD 4,027,510).
The highest selling lot no.156 titled ‘Bindu’ was by S H Raza. Executed in 1982, the work is composed in the artist's signature style that has become highly synonymous with modern Indian art. It was acquired at INR 1,58,33,674. Several works by the legendary artist M F Husain did exceptionally well at the auction. An exemplary work titled ‘Family,’ lot no. 148 achieved an impressive winning bid of INR 1,31,31,146.
The year 2021 for AstaGuru ended with a triumphant note with a magnificent response to the third Modern Indian Art auction held in December.The auction garnered an impressive total sale value of INR 93,18,78,408 ( US$ 12,765,436) after witnessing competitive bidding for an impressive line-up of 41 iconic modern Indian masterpieces. Leading the auction were two paintings by artist Tyeb Mehta. Lot no.14 titled ‘Figure With Bird,’ an important masterpiece in the artist’s signature style was realised at the value of INR ₹ 24,27,24,824 (US$ 3,324,997). Executed in the year 1987, the work is a profound interpretation of Tyeb Mehta’s visual vocabulary expressed through the motif of the bird. Another work by the artist from his famous ‘Diagonal’ series was sold at a value of INR 15,93,52,869 (US$ 2,182,915). Auction world records for three artists – N S Bendre, M V Dhurandhar and Krishen Khanna were also created.
We bid adieu to the year with a thank you to our collectors whose trust in AstaGuru continues to inspire us and affirms our commitment to curate the best collections spanning diverse categories. We wish everyone a happy and prosperous New year. As we prepare the calendar for 2022, we look forward to a bright year ahead.