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The Amaya Collection
Sotheby's New York

7 PM, March 19, 2013


Sale 8975

"The Crucifixion" by Souza

Lord Poltimore, Sotheby's deputy chairman, Europe, auctions Lot 7, "The Crucifixion," by Francis Newton Souza, circa 1963, oil on canvas, 69 7/8 by 52 inches

All photographs copyright Michele Leight, 2013
By Michele Leight

On 19 March, 2013, Sotheby’s New York presented the Amaya Collection, the first international Evening Sale of Indian Art,  a memorable event that featured important works of art by Modernist masters  and contemporary pieces by artists whose names are now recognized across the world, such as Subodh Gupta, Ravinder Reddy, Anjolie Menon, Bharti Kher, Rina Bannerjee and Rashid Rana. It was also the first single-owner sale in this category to be held at Sotheby’s in over a decade. The consignor was the collector and author, Amrita Jhaveri, whose collection spans important Modern & Contemporary Indian Art produced during the second half of the 20th Century to the early 21st. The sale offered gems by Maqbool Fida Husain, Tyeb Mehta, Francis Newton Souza, Sayed Haider Raza, and Vasudeo Gaitonde, and recent works by Subodh Gupta, Rashid Rana and Bharti Kher which have been exhibited internationally. The auction of 43 lots was estimated at  $5 -$7 million, and the works of art were exhibited in New Delhi, London and New York in advance of the sale. 

Proceeds from the sale will underwrite a project space and lecture room at Khoj International Artists’ Association in New Delhi. Amrita Jhaveri is also supporting museum initiatives in the collecting area of South Asian art by donating a work by sculptor Mrinalini Mukherjee to the Tate Modern: “This sale is a celebration of the very best of Indian art. The impulse to share these rare works with other collectors while continuing on the journey remains strong. Going forward I would also like to enable the work done at Khoj and support public exhibitions and collections of Indian art abroad," commented Amrita Jhaveri.

Yamini Mehta, Senior Director, Sotheby’s International Head of Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, London and New York said: “The Amaya Collection is one of the finest single owner collections of Indian Art to come to the market. Amrita Jhaveri has spent more than two decades putting together, with a passionate and scholarly approach, a stellar collection, which includes numerous works by Modern Indian masters. Her remarkable eye has also enabled her to seek out some exceptional works by younger Contemporary artists. I am thrilled, in this my first sale at Sotheby’s, to be offering such a well curated and diverse selection of these important works.”


Prianka Mathew of Sotheby's with Gaitonde's untitled work

Lot 12, "Untitled," by Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, , 1962, oil on canvas, was the top lot of the sale, achieving $965,000,  with a pre-sale estimate $600,000 to 800,000), shown above with Prianka Mathew, Sotheby's Head of Sales, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art.

The auctioneer for this memorable evening sale was Lord Poltimore, Sotheby's Deputy Chairman, Europe, whose sense of humor was a tonic that infused even the harried brigade  fielding phones as bidders vied for their favourite lots. There was laughter, and serious bidding, throughout the evening. Illustrated above with Prianka Mathew, Head of Sales, Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art, is Lot 12, "Untitled,"  a gorgeous rothko-esque canvas by Vasudeo Gaitonde, circa 1962, the star lot of the evening that achieved $965,000, with a pre-sale estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.  Sotheby's catalogue for this sale notes:

"Gaitonde produced very few canvases during his lifetime, partly due to his meticulous approach, He held strong beliefs in his identity as a painter and isolated himself from others, removing distractions that would interfere with his goal in achieving the purest form of expression through light , colour, and texture. When Richard Bartholomew reviewed Gaitonde's work in 1959 he described him as a 'quiet man and a painter of the quiet reaches of the imagination.' (Dnyaneshwar Nadkarni, Gaitonde, Lalit Kala Akedemi, 1983). All of Gaitonde's work from this period contains an inherent spirituality, and some have identified it as an expression of the Inner Self. When viewing his painting one is instantly struck by its contemplative and meditative quality. His work generates a feeling of infinity, representing the hidden depths of the world and mankind."

Illustrated at the top of this review is Lot 7, "The Crucifixion," an exceptionally fine oil on canvas by Francis Newton Souza, that streaked past its high estimate of $200,000 to $300,000, achieving $557,000. Sotheby's catalogue for this sale notes that the artist was heavily influenced by Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon and Graham Sutherland - the last two were his contemporaries - and that "Francis Newton Souza's ambivalence with religion is represented in this expressionistic painting. In the artist's own words, 'For me the all pervading and crucial themes of the predicament of man are those of Religion and Sex' (1964 interview with Mervyn Levy). Souza has depicted the martyred Christ in a number of his canvases but the current painting titled Crucifixion is one of his most evocative portrayals of the subject...His first major work on the subject was a large scale painting, (approximately 6 by 4 ft) produced in 1959, that is now part of the Tate Gallery's permanent collection." It is a dramatic work, illustrated in the catalogue, in the Collection of Tate Britain.


Lord Politmore takes bids for Raza's "Rajasthan I"


Lord Poltimore takes bids for Lot 25, "Rajasthan I," by Syed Haider Raza, 1983, acrylic on canvas, 60 inches square



Like MF Husain and FN Souza, Syed Haider Raza was a member of the Progressive Artists Group. In an essay in Sotheby's catalogue for this sale entiled "Mapping Modernism: Post Independence Art in India,"Yashodhara Dalmia writes: "They stepped into the difficult terrain where Folk Art, The Miniature Schools, The Company School and an eclectic mixture of Western naturalism existed alongside each other, and from this medley of styles they were to create their own mode of expression." He describes Souza's influence in particular: "The arch rebel Francis Newton Souza who had founded the Group was capable of immense distortions and a frank exposure of the human body which formed the paradigmatic structure of a forceful modernism. The inherent freedom that Souza exrcised made him paint figures of authority, particularly those of the officials of the Catholic church with a great deal of irreverence."

The painting above, Lot 25, "Rajasthan I," by Syed Haider Raza, is referenced by Dalmia in the same essay: "In the elemental reds, yellows and greens which whirl like passionate dervishes in 'Rajasthan I' in The Amaya collection, we have forms of concentrated energy which create a throbbing incandescence. The frames of  deep earth colours which contain this endless swirling are in a constant pulsting movement..."

Lot 25, "Rajasthan I," had an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000 and sold for $809,000.


"The Black Devi" by Bawa


 Lot 15, The Black Devi, by Manjit Bawa, 2002, oil on canvas, 63 by 67 1/2 inches

Long a fan of Manjit Bawa's paintings, this reviewer was heartened to see the exquisite canvas illustrated above do so well in a sale loaded with highly collectible works of art. Lot 15, "The Black Devi," references the goddess Durga, a warrior goddess, who possesses both beauty and strength, "her multiple arms and hands supporting weapons and supporting mudras.Durga Mahishasura is a representation of good over evil and the embodiment of the Devi's strength" (Sotheby's catalogue for this sale)

Lot 15 had an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000, and sold for $389,000.



Lord Politmore taking bids on "Puppet Dancers" by Husain

Lot 3, "Puppet Dancers," by Maqbool Fida Husain,  1963, oil on canvas, 31 1/2 by 51 1/4 inches


One of the most fascinating influences of MF Husain's prolific career was his love of toys that began in the early 1940s when he worked at the Fantasy furniture company in Mumbai. Lot 3, "The Puppet Dancers" provided a perfect vehicle for the artist to revisit a theme close to his heart, laced with the extraordinarily sophisticated Cubist inspired composition illustrated here. Rendered in a mouthwatering tapestry of earthtone colors 'The Puppet Dancers' evoke the Indian landscape and the small towns and villages where hand-made wood toys and puppets still provide entertainment and joy. This beautiful painting was exhibited at Asia House in London in 2006, in "M.F. Husain: Early Masterpieces 1950s-70s."

Lot 3 had an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000, and sold for $293,000.


"Festival" by Ganesh Pyne

Lot 22, "Festival," by Ganesh Pyne, 1969, tempera on canvas laid down on board, 21 5/8 by 26 inches


Exquisitely rendered in the delicate medium of tempera, Ganesh Pyne's "Festival" features the Bengali folk goddess of snakes and fertility emerging from the water flanked by a naga and flames. The artist's fascination with popular local deities often become a subject in his work, and stems from a childhood association with a shrine dedicatedto the Bengali saint Chitanya in front of his family home in Calcutta: "The morbid subject matter of many of his paintings was influenced by his own tragic circumstances. His father died when he was nine years old and this was shortly followed by the Calcutta riots of 1946. During the riots, Pyne witnessed looting, arson and murder amid the streets of Calcutta. Pyne and his family were evacuated from their home and the beloved Chitanya shrine opposite was destroyed. Pyne recalls seeing a cart full of bodies, among them a dead woman from a high caste, naked, her skin grey and throat gashed  with blood, her gold necklace still glistening. 'I was shaken by the sight. Since then I have been obsessed with the dark world.' (Saffronart, 2005, interview with the artist). The death of his grandmother in 1965 brought a further somber tone to his works. At the start of the 1970s, Pyne witnessed more suffering during the Pakistan and Bangladesh wars. His primary concerns then became depicting figures that were on the borders of society, migrants and social outcasts that increasingly populated the streets around him" (Sotheby's catalogue for this sale)

Lot 22 has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. It sold for $125,000.



"Family" by Reddy

Lot 17,   "Family," 1997, by G. Ravinder Reddy,  painted and gilded polyester-resin fiberglass



 
Work by Kher, left, and Karmakar, right

Left, Lot 43, "Actions To See The World Better," by Bharti Kher, bindis on composite aluminium panel, 48 inches square; Right: Lot 19, "From My Photo Album - II," by Abir Karmakar, 2005, oil
on canvas, 72 by 96 1/2 inches

Bharti Kher and Ravinder Reddy are well known internationally, and both have used typically Indian themes or motifs in their artistic practice. Kher's bindis morph into Op Art like constellations of mouthwatering complexity and beauty, and often include meanings embedded in ancient Hindu mythology and India's contemporary aspirations: "Bindi is derived from bindu, the Sanskrit word for a dot or a point. In India it is applied to the forehead and associated with the Hindu symbol of the third eye. Red colored bindis are customarily worn by married women, but it has now transformed into a fashion accessory worn by unmarried girls and women of any religion..." and "..."Kher uses the bindis as a means of transforming objects and surfaces through a technically time-consuming and contemplative process of slow application that becomes almost ritualistic and theatrical in its method of construction. Through this process, she is essentially re-examining their meaning and referencing issues of subjugation, female empowerment, femininity and sexuality. 'While Kher's art is unafraid to confront complex human concerns - among them gender, the post-colonial legacy, and the possibility of spritual experience in an increasingly materialistic world - it often does so with gleefully macabre humour, taking delight in its own formal excesses.'" (Tom Morton, 'Strange Hearts and Stranger Eyes,', Bharti Kher, London, 2012, p.157)

Lot 43, "Actions To See the World Better," has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000. 

Illustrated on the right of Kher's bindi constellation is Lot 19, "From My Photo Album," by Abir Karmakar, a beautifully executed photo-realist painting that references Edouard Manet's well-known masterpiece "A Bar at the Folies Bergere.

Lot 19 has an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000. It sold for $8,125.


Drawing upon classical Indian sculptural prototypes such as the famous Chola bronzes - featuring several figures - Ravinder Reddy's "Family" is also painted blue, a color sssociated with the Hindu god Krishna. Lot 17, "Family," is both shocking and familiar: "Reddy's hybrid sculptures combine the contemporary and the traditional, the secular and the religious, raising questions of desire and worship. His representation of the human body highlights issues of social, sexual, religious and cultural identity, These works can be seen as a comment on the dilution of Indian culture through globalization. 'Suspended between the urban and the rural Reddy's sculpture is a cultural hybrid. This interplay between societies has been of interest to Reddy; combining the stimulus of the old and the new he turns an iconic object into one of satirical social commentary - the classical form of Indian sculpture overlaid with the visual ethic of popular culture, becomes voluptuous, and accessible" (DaimlerChrysler Contemporary, Private/Corporate IV: Works from the Lekha and Anupam Poddar, New Delhi, and DaimlerChrysler Collections: A Dialogue, Berlin, 2007, p. 52).

Lot 17, "Family," has an estimate of $200,000 to $300,000. It sold for $341,000.



"Ode to the Spinal Cord" by Jitish Kallat

Lot
32, "Ode To The Spinal Cord, " by Jitish Kallat, 2000, mixed media on canvas, 52 by 68 inches

Saat Samundar Paar V by Gupta


Lot 39, "Saat Samundar Paar V," by Subodh Gupta, 2003, oil on canvas, 65 by 89 inches

There is nothing that evokes India quite like a train laden with people, and Lot 32, "Ode To The Spinal Cord," by Jitish Kallat does just that. One can almost hear the screeching wheels, sense the teeming mass of human beings packed together on board, and feel the frenzy that makes commuting a challenge for those that must ride the rails into Mumbai daily. The grit and grime of a teeming urban metropolis is palpable in this atmospheric work, as is the marginalized status of the citizens it portrays. It is visual depiction of the tightrope of survival for an aspiring but unequal strata of society.


  Lot 32 has an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000.  It sold for $137,000, well above its high estimate.

Indians on the move is also a frequent subject of Subodh Gupta. Lot 39, "Saat Samundar Paar V," is from a suite of works that depict people in transit, usually at airports and railway stations, as well as migrant workers with their distinctive luggage - rarely a conventional suitcase, because they cannot afford them. The boxes and bundles, bound with any available rope or plastic twine, can be seen at international airports across the globe, symbolizing the ephemeral nature of their owners lives as they pursue employment, while still maintaining strong ties to their country: "He glorifies the lovingly swaddled bundles, making them central to his paintings." (Meera Menezes, 'Made In India,' ART India Magazine, Volume X, Issue III, Quarter III, 2005, p. 72, Sotheby's catalogue for this sale). The "Ambassador" car is also something of a treasure, highly prized by those that appreciate its anachronistic presence in a new and flourishing India, with its abundance of shiny new cars.

It is no coincidence that Gupta portrays the plight of migrant workers so effectively. He was born and raised in Bihar, one of the poorest and most marginalized states in India, with a correspondingly poignant history of social injustice - often involving trafficking in humans for labor and the sex trade - and corruption. Like many of his subjects, the artist has migrated from rural Bihar to the metropolis of Delhi to pursue his career.

Lot 39, "Saat Samundar Paar V" sold for $185,000, with a pre-sale estimate of $120,000 to 180,000.


"Red Carpet - 2" by Rana

Lot 41, "Red Carpet - 2" by Rashid Rana, Digital c-print mounted on Diasec, 60 by 72 inches


Several artists whose work features in this sale - and on the international arts scene - are affiliated with KHOJ, as explained in "Incubating Innovation, KHOJ," by Malcolm Cossons, in Sotheby's catalogue for this sale. The director of KHOJ, Pooja Sood, is also one of the founding members:

"As the Indian contemporary art market continues to flourish, an organization like KHOJ is vitally important to foster emerging artists and ecourage communication between Indian and international artists, both new and established - as Sood notes 'KHOJ is not only about emerging artists but also about emerging practices, both of which need to be not only critiqued, but also supported.' Many of the artists who have participated in KHOJ projects in the past have gone on to enjoy international recognition - for instance, Subodh Gupta, Bharti, Kher, Jitish Kallat and Rashid Rana. Sood relishes the fact that these artists are now receiving critical acclaim: 'we have had several artists who are now big stars and to have been privy to their practice at close quarters is heartening, I think Subodh Gupta, for example, is amazing - I have no qualms about saying that. He pushes himself and manages to surprise!'"

The well-known Pakistani artist Rashid Rana's magnificent Persian "carpet" is meticulously - digitally - tooled together from a mosaic of gruesome photographs taken in a slaughterhouse. This contemporary "memento mori" contrasts violence and blood with luxurious rugs: "The opposition between beauty and death intergral to Rana's Red Carpet series has been explored by generations of artists, and sometimes overturned. The Symbolists, at their most decadent, replaced truth with death in (John) Keats' paradigm, asserting that beauty was death, and death, beauty. In our own time, we have grown familiar with that dazzling marker of our last end. Damien Hirst's diamond skull, produced in the same year as the first Red Carpet." (Sotheby's catalogue for this sale)

Lot 41 "Red Carpet," has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $161,000, well above its high estimate.


"May Look Close Than They Appear" by Joshi


Lot 21, "May Look Closer Than They Appear," by Anant Joshi, 2007, Mixed media, collage and gold leaf on canvas


Detail of Lot 21

Detail of Lot 21

Yogini, Lady in Moonlight and Lakshmi

Lot 20, ""Yogini; Lady In Moonlight; Lakshmi," by Pushpamala N. and Clare Arni, Chromogenic and gelatin silver prints, Edition 3 of 20

The collector of this amazing array of Indian art seems unaffected by trends and power labels, even though many of the works on offer were - and still are - created by India's most celebrated and successful artists. When  contemporary works by Anant Joshi and stylized photographs by Pushpamala N and Clare Arni, (illustrated above), rub shoulders with Husains and Razas, it is clear that the collector is focused on the future of Indian art and its overall significance in a wider - universal - context, rather than a single Indian artist or "movement."

Lot 21, "May Look Closer Than They Appear," by Anant Joshi has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It sold for $60,000.

Lot 20, "Yogini; Lady In Moonlight; Lakshmi" by Pushpamala N. and Clare Arni has an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. It sold for $11,125.

In "The Amaya Collection, An Eclectic View on Modern and Contemporary Indian Art," in Sotheby's catalogue for this sale, Girish Shahane writes: "Since her move to London a few years ago, she (Amrita Jhaveri) has grown more interested in the young contemporaries, particularly those from the Indian diaspora. With this change of focus, the idea of representativeness has receded in relevance, because art practices are now so diverse as to preclude any notion of a center or spine; and because, when we consider what is being created in the present moment, we do so without the historical distance vital to separating important from superfluous,  necessary from tangential. Partly to accommodate the shift in perspective, she is de-acquisitioning through Sotheby's a portion of her remarkable collection. She has retained enough by each artist to ensure she continues to possess works reflecting watershed moments in modern Indian art history. At the same time, she is letting go of some of the very best pieces, which cannot have been easy...What to keep and what to offer in a sale demands a series of tough decisions on the owners part. Shortly before his death, I interviewed Chester Herwitz, the most prominent collector of Indian art for three decades until the late 1990s. He spoke of the two single-person auctions of his paintings by Sotheby's in 1995 and 1996, pioneering efforts that count as forerunners of the Amaya Evening Sale. He called the auctions wrenching, almost unbearable, because so much of the art he loved was dispersed as a result. But he realized the quality of the entire collection would, to a degree, be judged by what was on offer, and so had to part with some of his best-loved paintings. Amrita was among those who bought substantially from the Herwitz collection, both through auctions and private sales. A dozen paintings that were once owned by Chester and Davida Herwitz feature in the Amaya Collection, among them Sudhir Patwardhan's 'Keralite,' (lot 30) which was offered in the 1996 Sotheby's sale, and which Chester Herwitz singled out as one of the canvases he found most difficult to let go."


"Keralite" by Patwardhan

Lot 30, "Keralite," by Sudhir Patwardhan, 1992, Oil on canvas


No pain, no gain, is how it seems to go. When beloved paintings from important collections are dispersed, however, they can become the seeds of  new directions and focus, which is always a good thing for art. Fresh air must blow into the hallowed corridors of the past, encouraging a new generation to bring their histories, angst and magic into the arena. Without this, art becomes a stagnant pool. Amrita Jhaveri's collecting reflects an understanding that art - like life - changes because of those that are committed to making it, who will inevitably chart their own course and not be dictated to by the past. Lot 30 "Keralite," by Sudhir Patwardhan has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for $62,500.

"The Strain of Fruit Eaten Twice Produced More and More"

Lot 40, "The Strain of Fruit Eaten Twice Produced More and More," by Rina Bannerjee, 2006, mixed media on paper, 54 5/8 by 42 7/8 inches

Rina Bannerjee says: "I could never be a Minimalist artist: I am interested in corrupting fine art with everything I wish for. I want adventure and to feel the same sense of command that I imagine an explorer or a scientist would - like a visitor trespassing. My art is about the value of our desire to travel, I am not interested in being wrapped around any country or community so tightly that it cannot allow this; the need to travel is psychological, intellectual, and emotional. Freedom is the most expensive commodity; nature the most dangerous beauty. My work examines both. My art depicts a delicate world that is also aggressive, tangled, mainpulated, fragile, and very, very dense." (as told to Zehra Jumabhoy, 'Rina Bannerjee', ArtForum.com, accessed from http://artforum.com/words/id=28485 on 20th January 2013)

The painting illustrated above  has been inspired by a life in which  imagination won the day. After studying material science engineering, Rina Bannerjee followed her heart and changed lanes, completing an MA in painting at Yale. Born in India, but living most of her adult life in the United States, her sophisticated use of exotic colors and rich textures, East/West iconography, and fascination with mythical and imaginary worlds inspired by folk and fairy tales stem from this mix of cultural traditions that have universal appeal.

Lot 40, "The Strain of Fruit Eaten Twice Produced More and More," has an estimate of $15,000 to $20,000. It sold for $27,500.


Man XII by Broota

Lord Poltimore with Lot 35, "Man XII," By Rameshwar Brootha, 1983, oil on canvas, 50 by 69 3/4 inches


Illustrated above with a smiling Lord Poltimore is Rameshwar Brootha's "Man XII,"  from the Chester and Avida Herwitz Family Collection, a typically brooding, sinister and compelling work that depicts the male figure - usually the artist's own - rendered in oil that is meticulously scratched away with linseed oil. The result resembles a gigantic etching, all the more amazing because the artist works directly on canvas, without any preparatory sketches. In an essay in Sotheby's catalogue for this sale entitled "Moving Past Illusion, Amrita Jhaveri's Collecting Odyssey," Deepanjana Pal writes: "For those familiar with modern Indian history, many of the works carry wthin them markers in invisible ink of the social and political climate of the times in which they were created. Take Rameshwar Brootha's 'Man XII', for example, in which a wraith of a bound man is shown with a mask over his lips. He has been turned into a mute, haunting creature and it is no accident that this work is dated 1983, a few years after the period of Emgegency (which civil liberties were suspended briefly)."  This painting resonates today when thousands across the world are silenced by an absence of what we call civil liberties in the "free" world. Lot 35 has an estimate of $90.000 to 150,000. It sold for $106,250.
For a complete change of pace, Lot 38, "Dominus Aerius 2," by Tukral and Tagra, features an affluent Delhi villa sprouting flora, an avertisement disguised as art, presented in "a large billboard styled image that comments on consumerism and the commoditization of art. The bungalow featured in the painting is depicted like an advertisement from a real estate catalogue. The foliage and flowers that frame the home give nod to the rosy way in which homes are styled for consumer use. The language of real estate advertising is applied to this painting, and the effect is to mischievously make one conscious of the collusion between the art market and the retail industry...Their local environment serves as the inspiration for this work. New Delhi and especially Gurgaon, the area where they live, is known for its opulence. Houses are enormous and built in a very haphazard  and eclectic style. These bungalows and country houses are symbols of wealth and status while remaining aspirational to everyone else with desires for a better life."

Lot 38 has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $30,000.

"Dominus Aerius 2" by Thukral & Tagra

Lot 38, "Dominus Aerius 2," by Tukral and Tagra, Oil and acrylic on canvas

The Amaya Collection brought a total of $6,694,875, just shy of its pre-sale high estimate of $7 million. Beautiful "Untitled" from Vasudeo S. Gaitonde,  sold for $965,000, above a high estimate of $800,000. Strong prices were achieved for Sayed Haider Raza’s "Rajasthanbrought a total of $6,694,875, just shy of its pre-sale high estimate of $7 million. Beautiful "Untitled" from Vasudeo S. Gaitonde,  sold for $965,000, above a high estimate of $800,000. Strong prices were achieved for Sayed Haider Raza’s "Rajasthan I" from 1983, which brought $809,000, while multiple bidders drove Francis Newton Souza’s "The Crucifixion" to achieve $557,000 (est. $200/300,000). Additional highlights included Manjit Bawa’s "The Black Devi," which sold for $389,000, and Bhupen Khakhar’s 1988 "Satsang," which fetched $341,000 – both above their pre-sale high estimates.  Another painting that exceeded its high estimate ($40,000 to $60,000)  was Jogen Chaudury's "Ganesh With Crown," (Lot 16), which sold for $118,750. 

Four artists records were set during this sale. "Mask, Icon, Mount, Mascot" by K.G.Subramaniam sold for $185,000; "May Look Closer Than They Appear" by Anant Joshi sold for  $60,000; "Untitled (Twisted Rope)," by Ranbir Kaleka sold for  $32,500, and Rina Bannerjee's "The Strain of Fruit Eaten Twice Produced More and More" sold for $27,500.

Yamini Mehta, Senior Director, Sotheby’s International Head of Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, London and New York, said:“It has been a privilege for Sotheby’s to handle this offering of works from The Amaya Collection. Tonight’s strong results, which reached the high estimate, are a testament to Amrita’s well-honed eye and decades of experience in the field of modern and contemporary Indian art. And with 60% of the lots achieving prices above their high estimates, there is no question that collectors are committed to pursuing works of the highest quality. I am delighted to have been a part of this landmark sale which was my first at Sotheby’s.”

Priyanka Mathew, Head of Sales, Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art, commented: “We have been especially pleased and encouraged to see a number of new buyers enter the market this season. Tonight, their presence contributed to strong prices for works by both the modern and contemporary artists in The Amaya Collection. The resurgence of interest in contemporary works is particularly exciting for this market, with records set tonight for artists including Banerjee and Joshi. Bidding was truly global, with equal participation coming from Asia, North America and Europe, demonstrating strength in the Indian market.”

In "Incubating Innovation" in Sotheby's catalogue for this sale, Malcolm Cossons writes:

"Responsible for launching the careers of some on India's most celebrated contemporary artists, KHOJ International Artist's Association will benefit from the sale of The Amaya Collection, allowing it to develop its ground-breaking work."

 It was a rare treat to be present at this very special evening sale in New York that will help support the arts in India - and internationally - for years to come.


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