Indian painter Tyeb Mehta's 1965 painting 'Falling Figure' fetched Rs 6 crores, leading Saffronart's Evening sale held here yesterday. One of Mehta's earliest works, the painting that won him a gold medal in the First Triennale of Contemporary World Art, was an outcome of the artist witnessing the death of a man falling through a window during the Partition riots in 1947. The artwork was estimated at Rs 5-7 crore. The modern Indian art auction that witnessed a sell-through rate of 86 per cent with 66 out of 77 works being sold, also saw two paintings, one by Ramgopal Vijaivargiya and the other by Madhav Satwalekar, set record prices for the artists. Estimated at Rs 4-6 lakhs, Satwalekar's work, that entered the auction market for the first time sold at Rs 14.4 lakhs and Vijaivargiya's painting fetched Rs 32.4 lakhs against a pre-sale estimate of Rs 15-20 lakhs. "We were gratified to see rare and seminal works receive broad appreciation and enthusiastic bidding.
The selection of lots was carefully considered as confirmed by the sell-through rate of 86 per cent, and reinforces the appeal of modernists among collectors of Indian art," Hugo Weihe, auctioneer and CEO of Saffronart said. The sale which reached a total of Rs 33.6 crores, also featured abstract painter V S Gaitonde's rare figurative painting of first Indian Oscar winner Bhanu Athaiya (1952), that sold at Rs 3 crores against a pre-sale estimate of Rs 2-3 crores. The auction also saw some rare and early works surpass the estimated values. S H Raza's 'Bombay from Malabar Hill' (1948) sold at Rs 1 crore fetching five times its upper estimate of Rs 20 lakhs. A gold medal winning work, the painting was exhibited at the Bombay Art Society's Diamond Jubilee show in December 1948. Ganesh Pyne's 'The Masks' (1994) exceeded its pre-sale estimate of Rs 55 - 65 lakhs and sold at Rs 1.32 crores. Jehangir Sabavala's 'Down To A Sunless Sea' (1962) also surpassed expectations by selling at Rs 1.14 crores against a pre-sale estimate of Rs 50 - 70 lakhs, and K H Ara's 'Juhu' estimated at Rs 5 - 7 lakhs sold at Rs 13.2 lakhs.
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