A newly discovered art piece — ‘Painting No. 1’ by Indian abstract artist Vasudeo S. Gaitonde — has been sold for £ 698,500 on Tuesday at the Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art sale at Sotheby’s.
This is the highest price this season for the auction house’s South Asian art sale known as the “Amaya collection”. Gaitonde’s masterpiece was consigned to an attic for many years since the owners were unaware that it was the work of an eminent Indian artist. Discovered during a valuation by one of Sotheby’s New York specialists, the treasured piece was estimated at £ 250,000-450,000 during pre-sales.
“We were thrilled, but not altogether surprised that Gaitonde’s exquisitely subtle and incandescent ‘Painting No. 1’ was the pick of the week’s sales in London. There was intense competition for this important and exceptionally rare work”, said Yamini Mehta, International Head of Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, Sotheby’s London and New York in a statement.
‘Painting No. 1’ is the first of a series of works Gaitonde produced in 1962. ‘Painting No. 4’ from the same series is currently in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Two paintings by the late M.F. Husain — ‘Jhoola’ and ‘Untitled’ (three women with sitars) — were sold for £ 242,500 and £ 188,500 respectively.
Bhupen Khakhar’s ‘Air, Stream and Speed’ soared above its pre-sale estimate of £ 100,000-150,000 to touch £ 182,500.