Indian Contemporary Sale Exceeds Estimate

Paintings by artists including Tyeb Mehta, Jehangir Sabavala and Syed Haider Raza sold for more than their estimates at an online auction by a Mumbai-based company, bringing the total buyers have paid for Indian art over the past two weeks to almost $14 million. Art Kabinett collector network has daily visitors from India who will be glad to see their artists' skyrocketing values. Mehta’s untitled painting of a white and orange human figure, shown here, received the top price of $1.6 million, beating its high estimate of $1.5 million. Rival collectors pushed 70 percent of the sold lots above high estimates, with 57 percent of the items on offer finding buyers, Saffronart auction house said today. This follows auctions of Indian art by Sotheby’s and Christie’s International last week, which fetched $9.7 million as U.S., European and Asian buyers bid above estimates. The Saffronart auction was worth $4.1 million, according to the company. Mehta, who started as a cinematographer in the wake of World War II before turning to painting, died in 2009. His picture of the goddess Kali sold for $1.3 million in a Saffronart auction in June, more than three times its top estimate. A Christie’s auction in June included an untitled painting by Mehta that sold for 1.97 million pounds, a record for a work by the artist. Sabavala’s “The Inland Seas II” sold for $200,609 in Saffronart’s latest auction, 77 percent higher than its top estimate, while the artist’s “Flight of Cranes II” fetched $172,200. The artist, whose works feature subdued tones and dreamy land and seascapes, died on Sept. 2. “The Inland Seas II” was part of three paintings inspired by the western Indian coast that overlooks the Arabian Sea, while the picture of the cranes was part of two works that Sabavala painted after watching birds while walking in the western Indian town of Satara. He studied at the Heatherley School of Fine Art in London and Academie Julian in Paris. Raza’s “Suryodya”, which means sunrise, sold for $218,400, beating its high estimate of $180,000. His “Saurashtra” sold for 2.4 million pounds in June 2010 in a Christie’s auction, a record for a modern or contemporary Indian work of art. Raza, 89, graduated from the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris.