8th Dec, 2007

Online Indian art acution mops up $8 million
New York, Dec 8 - Even as S.H. Raza's 'Maha Bindu' fetched $652,000 beating Tyeb Mehta's 'Untitled' which sold at $602,500, Saffronart's two-day online auction of Indian art closed Thursday realising a total sale value of about $8 million from 110 lots representing 36 artists.

Attracting almost 500 bidders from over 25 countries, the sale notched an increase in average lot price from Saffronart's June auction and other auctions of modern Indian art held in New York in September, underscoring buyers' increasing confidence in the market. In addition, Saffronart organisers add, the fact that almost a third of those who won lots were new bidders reflected the continuing global expansion of the buyer base for Indian art.

In Raza's 'Maha Bindu' (1988), the artist's favourite motif, bindu, pulsates within a square, much like the ancient Hindu and Buddhist mandalas that described the sacred universe.

In Mehta's 'Untitled' (2000) the androgynous figure careening downwards in endless freefall conveys the weight of personal and public violence in shaping the human experience today.

Fetching the third top price was F.N. Souza's monumental portrait, 'Titian's Grandfather' (1955), which sold for $591,500.

Rameshwar Broota's 'Man - II' (1981) attracted an intense round of last minute bidding, eventually going for $359,829.

Jogen Chowdhury's 'Couple A' (1984), an intricate rendering of a typically dressed and postured Bengali couple, sold for $304,750, almost tripling its high estimate to break the artist's record price for a work on paper.

World auction records were also set for the work of painters Sakti Burman and Thota Vaikuntam, and for sculptor S. Dhanapal.

Started in 2000, Saffronart, with offices in Mumbai and New York, has become a major proponent of contemporary Indian art by providing artists with greater opportunities to engage an Indian and global audience.

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