Asian Art Week – South Asian Modern & Contemporary Art at Christie’s


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Untitled by Gaitonde

Untitled by Gaitonde

Asian Art Week – South Asian Modern & Contemporary Art at Christie’s

A Gaitonde Canvas Goes for over $ 4 Million…

It certainly pays to hold on to your Master Artists!

Untitled, by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde painted in 1996, went for $ 4,092,500 – the second highest price paid for the artist.

An advocate of Zen Buddhism, Gaitonde saw painting as a spiritual endeavor and not something to be rushed, either in conception or execution. He painted, on average, just five or six canvases a year. So to find  a much-desired Gaitonde in auction is an art collector’s passion and fantasy. According to Nishad Avari, Indian art specialist at Christie’s in New York, “‘Untitled (1996) marks the apogee of Gaitonde’s career. Everything that went before is, in a sense, leading up to this.’

He adds: “‘By the time of 1996’s Untitled, we see a painter of great experience. There are elements here influenced by Indian miniature painting, for instance, such as the borders he paints down the left- and right-hand sides; the bright primary colors, too. The red is almost incandescent, and is combined with what looks like an enigmatic, new language of yellow-gold hieroglyphs.

‘This is a canvas that provokes new discoveries with every viewing, showing the balance of light, texture, color and space that Gaitonde perfected over his career. It’s attention-grabbing and yet also incredibly subtle.’ ”

‘Everything starts from silence. The silence of the brush, the silence of the canvas, the silence of the painting knife. The painter starts by absorbing all these silences… No one part of you is working there. Your entire being is.’ – Gaitonde


Tyeb Mehta

Falling Figure by Tyeb Mehta

Falling Figure by Tyeb Mehta  $1,632,500

All the excitement was at the Fall auctions at Christies which included seminal works by Gaitonde, Tyeb Mehta, Akbar Padamsee, Jehangir Sabavala, Manjit Bawa and Ganesh Pyne, along with several other noted artists. There was buzz about Untitled (Falling Figure) by Tyeb Mehta, which was painted in 1991 and went for $1,632,500.  Another favorite Manjit Bawa had Untitled (Krishna and Cow) go for $780,500.  A world record was also set for artist Ardeshir Davierwalla, whose Galaxy sold for $187,500. The sale total was $9,885, 625.

During Asian Art Week, there were a series of auctions, viewings and events at Christie’s including an in-depth talk for clients, collectors and dealers which opened up the world of Chughtai with Chughtai’s Vision of Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist Culture in South Asia’ by Dr. Marcella Sirhandi, Professor Emerita, Art History, Oklahoma State University.

Manjit Bawa

Krishna and Cow by Manjit Bawa

Krishna and Cow by Manjit Bawa  $780,500.

 Art Lovers at a Viewing at Christie’s

At a reception many art collectors, art lovers, dealers and curators came to view the art before it went on auction. So there was a whole art community there, sipping white wine and seeing the artists they love best with favorite works on the wall.Here photos of the art and the people who love it – a peek at the New York art world at Christie’s.


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About Author

Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

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