Indian Art Market explodes with new records in a single evening

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New Delhi, March 21 “Despite the sluggish economic sentiment and abounding volatility, the Indian art market has been witnessing a renewed energy and positivity since 2020. Notwithstanding the mayhem caused by the pandemic, there has been buoyancy and remarkable growth in the art market. Continuing with this upward swing, February 2022 further raised the bar and set the tone for the rest of the year,” Arvind Vijaymohan, CEO, Artery India.

On the 24th of February 2022, some of the finest works from the prestigious Glenbarra Art Museum (Japan) went under the hammer at an online event hosted by Pundole’s, Mumbai. The Glenbarra Art Museum, founded in 1991 by Masanori Fukuoka, houses one of the most significant collections of Indian art.

As one would expect from such a stellar lineup, a number of records were broken, the most spectacular of which was set by the renowned Modernist V.S. Gaitonde, whose “Untitled” oil on canvas from 1969 fetched a jaw-dropping 42 crores ($5.6 million). While this is the artist’s personal best, it is also the most expensive work ever sold by an Indian artist. The artist’s previous record was set in March 2021, when his “Untitled” oil on canvas from 1961 drew international attention with a stunning winning bid of 39.9 crores ($5.5 million).

On this memorable evening, works by highly acclaimed artists Tyeb Mehta, Jagdish Swaminathan, and Somnath Hore also set new records. Tyeb Mehta set a new record with his acrylic on canvas titled Mahishasura from 1995, fetching 32 crores ($4.2 million), a 21.3 per cent increase over his previous record.

Another popular Modernist, Jagdish Swaminathan, set a new record with his oil on canvas from 1988 selling for 22 crores ($2.9 million), a stunning 101.4 percent increase from his previous record. Somnath Hore became the fourth artist, also a Modernist, to break his record. Hore’s bronze sculpture pushed the artist’s new record to 1.6 crores ($212 thousand), a 39.3 per cent increase over his previous record.

P Perumal and Rajendra Dhawan’s works also resulted in new records for their respective artists. Works by Arpita Singh and Akbar Padamsee from the Glenbarra Art Museum collection performed well at this auction as well, with their highest selling works exceeding the upper estimate by 80% and 20%, respectively. However, neither of them has broken any new records, as reported by the media.

The year 2022 has clearly begun with vigour for the Indian art ecosystem. With the end of the fiscal year approaching, this distinguished market, which is a beautiful synthesis of aesthetics and economics, promises more newsworthy movement for the rest of the world to take note of.

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