Items from late Indira Gandhi's family collection have been sold big at an auction in Mumbai. Besides Gandhi, KCS Paniker's Words & Symbols Series painting sold at Rs 1.80 crore while Nicholas Roerich's "Pilgrim in the Himalayas" fetched Rs 1.74 crore.
Osian's auction of Indian antiquities, modern contemporary fine arts and books saw a total sale of Rs 14.64 crore. The auction, held last Friday, signalled the return of Osian's to the art market after facing nearly seven years of financial instability and challenges.
It featured top-quality artworks from important collections of personalities like Maharaja Sir Vijay Singh of Rajpipla, Indira Gandhi, Pratapaditya Pal, Angela and Ernst Mischa Jucker and Soli Daruwala among others.
In the Modern Masters section, Nasreen Mohammedi's mid-1980s minimalist drawing sold for Rs 67.20 lakh reaffirming her recent status as a serious artist in both critical and financial terms. Prabhakar Barwe's early 1960s pop-culture and Tantric philosophy-inspired painting fetched Rs 30 lakh.
All the lots from Indira Gandhi's family collection sold well meeting and exceeding their auction estimates, with the M F Husain's 1976 "Horse" going under the hammer for Rs 96 lakh, the auction house said.
Among other items, F N Souza's "Landscape" sold for Rs 76.80 lakh while Manjit Bawa's "Krishna and Follower" fetched Rs 55.20 lakh. From a quantity viewpoint, 75 per cent sale was recorded, while in value terms 99 per cent of the total lower estimate and 66 per cent of total higher estimate were achieved, with 127 per cent of the lower estimate and 84 per cent of the higher estimate of the lots sold, it said.
Commenting on the auction, Osian's founder and chairman Neville Tuli said, "This auction is a good example of Osian's changing mindset, whether it was in the manner of reaching out to new clients or the manner in which the auction was curated or the speed at which information is shared with the public and media.
"Naturally, a new balance between research and educational responsibilities, market-making activities and achieving strong and sustainable cash flows needs to be brought into the business as this auction reflects to some extent. Though relatively small in value, it was a prudently successful first step, and the June auctions will increase in value, as Osian's expands its team in the coming weeks."
Osian's has three more auctions planned before mid-July, including a major architectural heritage- inspired and Indian cinema and Hollywood auctions.