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Spanning a decade of Modern Indian Art
By Staff Writer
17 Mar 2020
The distinction between Modern and Contemporary art has always been a little ambiguous but Indian Modern art is usually classified through and by the artworks that were created post our country’s formation and independence. Modernism represented an epoch of change and renewed experimentation for the artists from the subcontinent. The period played a significant role in carving out an important position for Indian art on a global scale. With the increasing importance of Modern Indian art and the recognition of its value, the collectors came flocking.
The first ever auction of modern Indian art was held in 1995 and since then the growth of the market has been exponential. Amidst all this a truly revolutionary step taken by AstaGuru was basing the entire business model on an online medium instead of relying on live sales. There are several advantages to adopting this mode. First and foremost it solved the problem of accessibility for potential collectors. Now collectors can be based anywhere in the world and still have a chance to enhance their art collection, right at their fingertips. The clients can check the bidding history for each artwork which allows for a transparency that previously did not exist.
Astaguru has grown over the past decade hand in hand with the increasing value and demand for Modern Indian Art in the market, and managed to gain immense credibility. Collectors are more trusting of the entire process of an online auction and more willing to purchase an artwork sight unseen. Our debut auction that took place in 2008, “Modern and Contemporary Art’ featured lots of legendary artists such as S.H. Raza, M.F. Husain, Akbar Padamsee, J. Swaminathan and F.N.Souza to name a few. We have consistently presented exceptional creations of legendary artists through our online platform and the upcoming Modern Indian Art Auction scheduled for the month of April is going to be no different. It is imperative to keep in mind that catalogues presented by us for each of our modern Indian art auctions are specifically curated and focus on key, career-defining works of the respective artists.
Keeping the upcoming auction in mind, here is an overview of the record price artworks sold by us, spanning more than a decade. The most expensive lot till date is ‘Bull’ by Tyeb Mehta during the March 2018 auction at a price of Rs 19,98,11,074. The painting belonged to the ‘bull’ series which aimed to depict the plight of the helpless animals at a slaughterhouse. It is symbolic that the painting, which is till date one of the most expensive works sold by us, was part of the 10th anniversary auction. It serves as a milestone in the ongoing journey of the company. The value of the artwork has a symbiotic relationship with the series or particular period that the work belongs to, within any artist’s oeuvre. Collectors increasingly understand the importance of the various life events on the artist’s works and are eager to add such seminal works to their collection. For example take the work ‘Gestation’ by S.H Raza. It was a part of our December 2018 auction and sold at a price of Rs 17,11,63,125. The reason the painting garnered such importance is because the collectors realised that the work was representative of the meditative quality found in all of Raza’s later works. The size of the artwork played an equally crucial role in deciding its value. It is till date one of the biggest artwork sold in the Bindu series by S.H Raza. Another example is the ‘Old City Landscape’ by F.N Souza that went under the hammer for Rs 5,54,79,959. The artwork was created during Souza’s time in London wherein he was greatly influenced by the likes of Francis Bacon. The thick lines and dark undertones of the work showcase the influence of Souza’s time in London. The painting depicts a church and some other common sights around Goa which invariably is also symbolic of the ties that Souza still had to his birthplace. The collectors are aware of the artist’s journey and realise the significance of this particular artwork.
With the burgeoning art market, AstaGuru has shown tremendous growth over the past decade. This is due to the meticulously curated catalogues and the increasing interest of clients all over the world to enhance their art collection. The upcoming 2020 edition auction will not disappoint with masters like Husain, Souza, Sakti Burman, Broota and others being a part of the catalogue.