V S Gaitonde's untitled 1982 work, painted during the peak of his career, has fetched a whopping Rs 26.9 crores at Saffronart's recent live evening sale on Modern Indian Art, making it one of the top five highest value works ever sold by an Indian artist.
The green oil painting representing the artist's precise, deliberate technique, which was estimated at Rs 20-30 crores, also became one of the top three most expensive works by Gaitonde to be sold in India.
Also contributing to the impressive total sale value of Rs 54.2 crores, was Bhupen Khakhar's "Tradesman" (1986), a significant painting that was auctioned for the first time.
It achieved the second highest value, selling at Rs 3.72 crores.
Ram Kumar's "Composition" was another highlight of the sale. Doubling its lower estimate, the 1958 work sold for Rs 2 crores.
"The painting marks a significant turning point in the artist's career, when his work began to transition from the figurative towards abstraction," the auction house said in a statement.
Among the top five lots was also K H Ara's Untitled work dating back to the 1940s.
An unusual, humanistic portrayal of a group of labourers playing cards, the painting sold for four times its higher estimate at Rs 1.2 crores.
A later geometric work by S H Raza, "Om" (2007) fetched twice its lower estimate at Rs 1.92 crores.
"The Evening Sale with V S Gaitonde's 1982 masterpiece taking its place among the top three highest value works to be sold by the artist in the country.
"The results reflect the continued global interest in modern Indian masters including Bhupen Khakhar, K H Ara and Ram Kumar, whose works were created during a transformational period in Indian art history," Dinesh Vazirani, Saffronart's CEO and Co-Founder, said.
Striking sculptures by Pilloo Pochkhanawala and Ramkinkar Baij surpassed their higher estimates.
"Assassination" (1981) by Pochkhanawala, one of India's leading women sculptors, was created with cement, metal and fibreglass, and sold for more than five times its higher estimate at Rs 50 lakhs.
Baij's unique bronze sculpture portraying Mahatma Gandhi walking resolutely during the historic Dandi March doubled its lower estimate to sell for Rs 37.2 lakhs.