Sotheby’s 2nd live auction sees no record; major artworks find no takers | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Sotheby’s 2nd live auction sees no record; major artworks find no takers

Hindustan Times | ByDipanjan Sinha & Cherylann Mollan, Mumbai
Nov 18, 2019 07:48 PM IST

Of the 61 lots on the block, including an FN Souza, a Bhupen Khakhar and a rare Husain, about 20% were left unsold.

The mood was muted at Sotheby’s second live auction in Mumbai, held at the Taj Mahal Palace on Friday. While last year’s event saw furious bidding and a new record set for the artist Amrita Sher-Girl (The Little Girl in Blue went for 18.69 crore), there were no such records this time around.

FN Souza’s The Last Supper, which has been at Japan’s Glenbarra museum for the two decades, sold for ₹5.6 crore, just above its upper estimate of ₹5 crore.(Aalok Soni / HT Photo)
FN Souza’s The Last Supper, which has been at Japan’s Glenbarra museum for the two decades, sold for ₹5.6 crore, just above its upper estimate of ₹5 crore.(Aalok Soni / HT Photo)

One of the art works leading the auction — VS Gaitonde’s untitled oil-on-canvas from 1974, from the private collection of actor and society doyenne Sabira Merchant and husband Chotu Merchant — remained unsold. It features five orbs suspended in space like planets.

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There was some excitement as bids reached 19.5 crore, but then they went no further and its reserve price had been higher, so it remained unsold.

Final bids were lower than expected for a lot of works. “That’s not a surprise, given the current economic situation,” said gallerist Ritu Prakash Desai.

VS Gaitonde’s untitled oil-on-canvas from 1974 saw go bids go up to 19.5 crore; it was estimated to fetch Rs 20 crore and therefore remained unsold. (Aalok Soni / HT Photo)
VS Gaitonde’s untitled oil-on-canvas from 1974 saw go bids go up to 19.5 crore; it was estimated to fetch Rs 20 crore and therefore remained unsold. (Aalok Soni / HT Photo)

Of the 61 lots on the block, including an FN Souza, a Bhupen Khakhar and a rare Husain, as well as sculptures and architectural drawings, about 20% were left unsold, said Yamini Mehta, deputy chairperson for Indian and South Asian Art at Sotheby’s. “The auction showed there’s interest for works that are fresh to the market and well-priced,” she added.

FN Souza’s The Last Supper, which has been at Japan’s Glenbarra museum for the two decades, sold for 5.6 crore, just above its upper estimate of 5 crore. The second-highest sum of the night was brought in by Bhupen Khakhar’s Tiger and Stag, which fetched 4.1 crore — below its upper estimate of 5 crore. Khakhar’s watercolour and ink on paper, Preparatory Study for The Celebration of Guru Jayanti, was sold for 70 lakh.

“The Gaitonde attracted considerable interest ahead of the sale, but ultimately the painting didn’t find a buyer during tonight’s auction. There is interest in the work from collectors, and we hope to be able to offer it privately after the sale,” a statement from Sotheby’s said.

(Prices cited are not inclusive of buyer’s premium)
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