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Works by VS Gaitonde sold well at Bonhams South Asian Art Sale

Works by VS Gaitonde sold well at Bonhams Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art Sale

June 26, 2015: Six works by V.S. Gaitonde, one of India’s most important modern artists, sold for a total of £727,000 at Bonhams Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art sale on 11th June in London.

The six untitled ink on paper drawings (estimated between £20,000-35,000 each) were acquired directly from the artist by American abstract painter Morris Graves, who visited Gaitonde’s studio in 1963. He was so excited by the works that he sent an aerogram that same day to Dan and Marian Johnson of the Willard Gallery in New York. “One of the finest painters I have ever seen,” he wrote of Gaitonde. “He is 100 per cent artist – a great and sincere man…an abstract painter with something unspeakably beautiful and clean added. They are the most beautiful landscapes of the mind plus light…”

This series of drawings marks a critical turn in Gaitonde’s career: in 1961 he abandoned figuration, adopting the use of rollers and ink and the use of a monochrome palette. One of the works sold for £158,500, three for £146,500 and the remaining two for £134,000.

Other highlights include Untitled (Self Portrait) by Maqbool Fida Husain which sold for £56,250 and Horse by the same artist which made £47,500. Untitled (Birds) by Shalir Ali was bought for £52,500 against an estimate of £5,000-7,000. 

In total the sale made £1,370,000 and over 90% of the lots were sold.   

Tahmina Ghaffar, specialist for Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, said, “In a strong sale, the Gaitonde series stood out. Each of the drawings was fiercely contested – online, on the ‘phone and in the room – making this one of our most exciting South Asian auctions to date.”