New Delhi: An untitled
composition of galloping horses by the late M.F. Husain, painted
in acrylic pigments on canvas, sold for Rs.1.45 crore at an
The painting, estimated at Rs.1.25 crore, was sourced from a
private collector in Mumbai for the inaugural auction of Art Bull
- a new art auction house in the capital.
Horses, which became a signature motif of the country's most
visible face in international art, reminded the artist of the
Islamic crusades - which he found similar to the epic of
Husain described his horses as creatures "with fronts (torsos)
that were forceful and triumphant and backs that were as graceful
An oil painting by Ramkinkar Baij of a tribal family taking a
break from their work on the fields went out for Rs.90 lakh, while
an untitled bronze sculpture of a flying man by K.S. Radhakrishnan
fetched Rs.13 lakh in brisk bidding by collectors and
institutional buyers in the Park Hotel Saturday.
Several works, estimated between Rs.50,000 to Rs.1.70 lakh by
younger artists, also found buyers.
The auction presented a combination of the old and the new in
Indian contemporary art, covering a century.
The works included paintings by Abanindranath Tagore, Abani Sen,
Akbar Padamsee, M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, J. Sultan Ali, S.H. Raza,
J. Swaminathan, Jamini Roy and several other heavyweights of
contemporary Indian art.
"The trends show that modern masters still rule the auction
market. I had earlier conceptualised the auction only for younger
artists, but I had to include masters because they meant more
buying business," Siddhartha Tagore, owner of Art Bull, told IANS.
Tagore, who had been contemplating the auction since 2005, took
time to put it together "because of the market meltdown".
"People also told me not to do it...but I had to start it at some
point of time.
"Hosting an auction is a tough job...India has a long way to go
because an auction requires documentation of the works and careful
planning," he said.
Citing trends in the auction market, Kolkata-based auctioneer
Vikram Bachhawat of Emami Chisel Art said "people were once again
buying for fun".
"Art is no longer an investment... but is a collector's whim. It
was like this in the beginning of the decade before the market
went out of control," Bachhawat, who attended the auction, told
Bachhawat said the markets were finally recovering after a period
of lull. "The capital will see at least five big art auctions next
year," the auctioneer said.