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World record mobile bid of Rs 4.61 cr at Saffronart's online auction of Indian art

Tyeb Mehta's 'Untitled (Kali)' fetches Rs 5.72 crore

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* The auction realised a total sale value of Rs. 17.50 crores ($4 million)
* Bids and underbids totaling Rs 15.66 crores ($3.6 million) were placed using Saffronart’s mobile bidding application
* Six lots auctioned for over $200,000 including works by Tyeb Mehta, Ravinder Reddy, Manjit Bawa, S.H. Raza and Jehangir Sabavala
* 72% of the lots sold, of which 53% exceeded their higher estimates

Saffronart, India's leading auction house, concluded it’s Summer Online Auction on June 16th, 2011 with impressive results and a world record of  Rs. 4.61 crores ($1.06 million) for a bid placed via a mobile application in any fine-art auction. The auction achieved a total sale of Rs. 17.5 crores ($4 million), reaffirming the strength in the Indian art market.

The two-day auction of Modern and Contemporary Indian art saw significant results for several lots, many of which exceeded their higher estimates by several multiples. The sale was led by Tyeb Mehta’s 1998 canvas ‘Untitled (Kali)’, the last Mehta painted in a series of works on the subject. Fierce bidding on this lot saw it surpass its pre-auction estimate of Rs. 1.25 to 1.75 crores ($287,360 - 402,300), to eventually sell for an unprecedented Rs. 5.72 crores or $1.31 million.

Energetic bidding saw several lots cross the $200,000 mark including G. Ravinder Reddy’s monumental gilded head, at Rs. 1.14 crores ($262,055); Manjit Bawa’s luminous 1993 canvas ‘Nayika’, at Rs. 1.08 crores ($248,780); S.H. Raza’s 1951 ‘Carcassonne’, featured on the cover of the auction catalogue, at Rs. 95 lakhs ($218,500); and Jehangir Sabavala’s early canvas, ‘The Bangle Sellers’, at Rs. 87.5 lakhs ($201,250).

Commenting on the auction, Dinesh Vazirani, CEO and Co-founder of Saffronart said, “Tyeb’s ‘Untitled (Kali)’, is characterised by a combination of several factors, which played a role in the premium price it commanded – relative rarity, great aesthetic value and excellent provenance among them. Despite being a smaller format painting by the artist, the competitive bidding on it from the beginning of the auction right until its last minutes reflected the collectors’ focus on quality.”

He continued, “The success of this sale strengthens our core belief that the internet is an ideal medium to reach and engage collectors. Several clients also monitored the progress of the auction and bid through Saffronart’s mobile application, underling their confidence in the transparency and accessibility that Saffronart has always stood for. The world record bid we received of over $1 million from a collector using the Saffronart auctions mobile application speaks volumes for our clients’ confidence in using our technology.”

Saffronart’s innovative mobile bidding application – available for iPhones, Blackberrys and other mobile devices - is the only live bidding application for mobile devices offered by a major art auction house globally, ensuring bidders’ convenience and access, no matter where they are. During this auction, bids and underbids totaling Rs. 15.66 crores ($3.6 million) were received via this application, and 12% of the lots on offer received bids via mobile phones. At this auction Saffronart also introduced an SMS notification service for bidders, to alert them when they are outbid.

Saffronart’s Summer Art Auction, featuring 65 lots by 30 modern and contemporary Indian artists, was characterised by a strong focus on aesthetic quality and competitive estimates. The auction saw participation from collectors across the world, and closed with a total sale value of Rs. 17.5 crores ($4 million).

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First Published: Tue, June 21 2011. 17:14 IST