Mehta art fetches record Rs 17 cr

Mehta art fetches record Rs 17 cr

The Tyeb Mehta fever seems to continue with the artist’s 1999 canvas, Untitled (Falling Bull), showing the central figure of a bull set against blocks of vivid colour, fetching a record Rs 17,54,25,000 at the Christie’s auction on Thursday at the Taj Mahal Palace here.

Souza’s “Front-Back Nude” was picked up for Rs 1,58,25,000, S H Raza’s “Les Toits de la rue St Jacque...” was grabbed for Rs 4,58,25,000 and Jamini Roy’s “Yashoda and Krishna” was sold for Rs 27,50,000.

Christie’s second auction totaled Rs 75.27 crore, Rs 30 crore over and above the estimate, while the first auction in 2013 totaled Rs 96.59 crore.

Works by the leading names of India’s modern art movements, Vasudeo S Gaitonde, the Tagores, Jamini Roy, Ganesh Pyne, K K Hebbar, Jehangir Sabavala, N S Bendre, S H Raza, Tyeb Mehta, Francis Newton Souza, M F Husain and others were offered alongside 10 contemporary pieces donated by artists such as Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher, sold to benefit Khoj, the artist residency programme established in India in 1997.

Almost Rs 2 crore was raised for Khoj. Subhodh Gupta’s installation of stainless steel utensils, Guldasta, fetched Rs 30 lakh, while his wife Bharti Kher’s colourful bindis on mirror titled “Hyperbolic Spiral” fetched Rs 40 lakh.

The auction also included significant works and items by some of India’s designated National Treasure artists, which are considered of such importance to the cultural development of India that they cannot leave the country.

The artworks were put up for auction following the two-day public preview which began on December 9.

A pocket book belonging to the artist, Nobel laureate, poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, which has a rare mixture of poetry, art and introspection fetched Rs 2,06,25,000. Covering the years 1889 to 1904, the pages throw light on mundane land transactions and taxation, to a poem written by Tagore as a guide for children who are learning to read.

Nothing similar by Tagore has ever been offered before for sale at an auction in India.

One of the last works by the internationally recognised artist, Vasudeo S Gaitonde, for sale just six weeks after the opening of a retrospective of his work at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, fetched Rs 6,62,25,000.

Offered by a private collector in India, it was painted in 1998, the last year he is known to have worked and only a few years before his death.

M F Hussain’s “Obscure object of desire” was picked up for Rs 1,16,25,000, whereas A Balasubramaniam’s fibre glass and acrylic works “Gravity”, which features the artist’s face mask, fetched Rs 1,10,25,000.

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