NEW YORK —Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, one of India’s most important abstract artist’s masterpiece painting ‘Untitled’ fetched a whopping $2.8 million at Sotheby’s, leading the sales at a week-long auction of Southeast Asian works of art at the auction house here, last week, during ‘Asia Week New York.’
Sotheby’s sales of Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian works of art altogether raised $55 million. Gaitonde’s painting, the largest-known canvas by the artist, led both the sales and all of Sotheby’s Asia Week New York auctions. The art sale included works by India’s modern masters, including Amrita Sher-Gil and Raja Ravi Varma.
The auction was commissioned by Air India to commemorate the addition of transatlantic flights to their schedule, the auction house said in a statement. “Our sale built on the growing western interest in modern and contemporary South Asian art with great results for artists, such as Nasreen Mohamedi and Bhupen Khakhar, who are soon to be the subjects of exhibitions at the newly-opened Met Breuer… They joined the likes of V.S. Gaitonde and Amrita Sher-Gil at the highest echelons of the auction market,” Yamini Mehta, international head of department of Indian and South Asian art at Sotheby’s, said.
An untitled portrait of a lady in a russet and crimson sari by Varma, India’s earliest oil painter, went for almost 2.5 times its estimate, selling at $586,000. Henry Howard-Sneyd, chairman of Asian Arts, Americas and Europe at Sotheby’s, said the Asia Week total of about $55 million was at the “top of pre-sale expectations, proving that clients across the globe remain actively engaged in collecting the finest examples of Asian Art.”