Saffronart’s upcoming Summer Online Auction (13 – 14 June) marks an important milestone in our eighteen-year journey. To celebrate, the auction house presents 150 exceptional works of modern and contemporary Indian art. The artists represented span the evolution of the Indian art scene from the pre‐Independence period to the present day, illustrating over a hundred years of art history.
With less than three weeks to our auction, we look at six artworks leading the sale.
1. Tyeb Mehta, Kali, 1989
Estimate: $ 3–4 million (Rs 19.5–26 crores)
Tyeb Mehta’s rare and iconic Kali, one of only three standing figures, leads the auction. The painting was once part of the art collection of the eminent and influential theatre director, Ebrahim Alkazi. Art, drama, theatre, and compassion come together in this powerful painting of a blue Kali, which embodies Mehta and Alkazi’s shared sensitivity about the human condition.
2. V S Gaitonde, Untitled, 1965
Estimate: $ 800,000 – 1.2 million (Rs 5.2 – 7.8 crores)
V S Gaitonde, whose deeply meditative paintings resonate with collectors and intellectuals around the world, features among the modernists leading this sale. The present lot is composed of translucent washes of beige and white, and is one of his most important works from the 1960s. Gaitonde’s paintings from this decade have achieved unusually high prices at auction; in September 2017, Saffronart offered a painting from the same time period which sold for close to INR 20 crores, earning a place among the five most expensive paintings by the artist to be sold worldwide at auction.
3. Raja Ravi Varma, Untitled (Shiva), 1903
Estimate: $ 461,540–769,235 (Rs 3–5 crores)
Untitled (Shiva) was painted in 1903 towards the end of Ravi Varma’s illustrious career. The painting is a rare representation of Shiva as Dakshinamurthy, a divine teacher of spirituality and yoga, who imparts knowledge and wisdom of a cosmic scale. In his specific interpretation of Shiva, the artist retains some of his iconographic features, such as his third eye, the crescent moon and the snake, against the backdrop of Mount Kailash. The painting was bequeathed to the present owner by his grandfather who, in turn, received it from the Nizam of Hyderabad in the 1940s.
4. S H Raza, Paysage Provencal ‐ I (Cagnes), 1951
Estimate: $ 200,000 ‐ 300,000 (Rs 1.3‐1.95 crores)
This work on paper stands out for Raza’s early mastery over precise delineation and composition. Painted a year after Raza moved to Paris, it was widely lauded in the French press and singled out for its unique portrayal of Provence. It was exhibited in February 1952 at Galerie Saint‐Placide, pushing the young artist into prominence. Another painting from this period—Haut de Cagnes (1951)—sold at Saffronart in February 2014 for INR 5.75 crores.
5. Manjit Bawa, Untitled, 2005
Estimate: USD 500,000 – 700,000 (INR 3.25 – 4.55 crores)
In this painting, an ochre canvas of epic proportions, Manjit Bawa depicts a prowling lion and a supine blue‐skinned ascetic. Mythological themes and allegory recur in Bawa’s works. His deep knowledge of religious texts and literature, as well as the history and tales of bravery from the Sikh tradition, inform his repertoire.
Subodh Gupta’s Hungry God leads the contemporary section. With an overflow of stainless‐steel utensils forming a monumental wave, Hungry God inspires awe through its sheer scale. The installation is important in Gupta’s body of work, and has been previously exhibited in New Delhi, São Paulo in Brazil, Melbourne in Australia, and Derbyshire in the UK.
Want to browse through our catalogue? View all lots in the Summer Online Auction here.