The Hindu’s Business Line looks at the Indian art market and provides us with this handy chart of the top vendors in the space. Like all other art markets, there’s been a crowding at the top around works that are considered the very best from the most established names (and a few names finally making it into the top rank:)
In 2008, when the investment-driven art market crashed, 70 per cent of the Indian art market was led by contemporaries and only 30 per cent by masters. “Today, it is 90 per cent masters. […],” said Ajay Seth, Chief Mentor, Copal Art. […]
“For the last three years, the auction houses’ trend has been that 80 per cent of lots sold are related to masters,” says Seth.
In India, a wider number of masters (besides Husain, Raza and Souza) are not only appearing more frequently at various auctions but are also creating new benchmarks. “We have many examples, such as Jehangir Sabavala, Akbar Padamsee, to name a few. Indian masters are getting wider acceptability,” adds Seth.
In a Slowing Economy, Masterpieces Flourish (The Hindu Business Line)
The highlight of the sale was Jehangir Sabavala, Vespers I which had been estimated to sell for £100,000-150,000, but two buyers in the room pushed it to £253,650. [...] Mehreeen Rizvi, Head of Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art at Bonhams commenting after the sale, said: ”It is about time this artist achieved commercial success in the art market to mirror his artistic reputation.”
The second highest price achieved in the sale was a work by the renowned Indian artist M.F. Husain titled The Blue Lady which made £97,250 against a pre-sale estimate of £70,000-90,000. It was from the private UK collection of Mr. John Hay, having been presented to Hay’s mother Elizabeth Partridge by her sister as a wedding present in India.
It’s not really fair to the heirs of MF Husain to spread gossip about the estate. After all, the great Indian painter divided his property long before his death and put his estate in the hands of his younger children. But The Asian Age says there have been persistent rumors about Husain’s “Maria Collection” a large body of work that the family says was sold before the artist’s death but others have claimed are on the market right now:
Renu Modi, director, Gallery Espace, [says] “Husain called me personally a year ago and informed me that he had sold off all the 75 paintings in the Maria collection to somebody in London. I was trying to find a buyer for it here. Unless the deal didn’t come through, the paintings aren’t in the market.”
A prominent art curator who doesn’t wish to be named says, “The stakes are really high, so there will be problems aplenty in distributing his wealth. Husain was one of the most expensive Indian artists and it’s not just the Maria collection, there are many such paintings which Husain gave away to people. He was working on several projects, which he never finished. And those who had commissioned those works had paid him huge amounts. Now, they want their money back, but the family doesn’t have enough works left to pay them.”
Husains Deny Rift, Money Squabbles (The Asian Age)