The market for India’s modern masters seems to be sizzling. After Raza became the priciest modern by notching up over Rs 16 crore at a London auction recently, another master, 88-year-old Jehangir Sabavala, has set a new world auction record for his work.
Casuarina Line, a serene landscape, was acquired by an Indian-origin buyer for Rs 1.7 crore—more than three-and-a-half times the pre-sale estimate of Rs 50 lakh—at a Saffronart auction on Monday.
Sabavala’s 60-year career started with his first solo exhibition at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, put up with the help of fellow artist M F Husain and some carpenters. His last exhibition was in 2008. The city-based Parsi artist is currently battling lung cancer.
Husain, too, recorded another first at the auction, with an untitled composition by him becoming the most expensive art work sold via a mobile phone bid. It sold for Rs 1.06 crore.
The auction saw Rs 4.2 crore in winning bids from mobile phones, said Dinesh Vazirani, Saffronart CEO and co-founder. “The response to the new mobile application launched by Saffronart (and designed by its tech team) was quite unexpected. We weren’t expecting buyers to make bids that ran into crores over the phone,’’ he said.
The sale sold 81% of the 90 lots at Rs 30 crore. “The Indian art market is now on a sustained growth path. The collector base has widened, with museums keen to build good collections,’’ Vazirani said.