Abirpothi

India’s only daily art newspaper

Top Auction Houses of FY 2023

Auction Houses have played an important role in the Indian Art Ecosystem. Since auction sales are the only formal source of data available on sales of Indian artworks, they help provide unparalleled insight into the ecosystem. Analysing these sales helps us identify patterns in consumer behaviour and draw conclusions on where the market is headed. 

Top 3 Auction Houses of FY23

  • SAFFRONART

TURNOVER: RS.367.1 CR

WORKS SOLD: 651

SELL THROUGH RATE: 85.1%

AVERAGE PRICE: RS.56.4L

Saffron art one of the first art auction houses in India and it runs successfully even today, presenting the best of contemporary and modern art to global audiences through tastefully designed exhibitions. It was initially just an web portal for purchasing art, started by the dynamic couple of Dinesh and Minal Vazirani but now it is much more than art portal for online auction. To encourage first time collectors they have also launched a new model wherein there are no prerequisite prices and the first time collectors get a say in determining the cost of a particular art piece for investment or for personal use/consumption.

  • ASTAGURU

TURNOVER: RS.281.9 CR

WORKS SOLD: 815

SELL THROUGH RATE: 97.8%

AVERAGE PRICE: RS.34.6L

Over the years, AstaGuru auction house has curated a wide range of online auctions in India, covering a diverse array of categories. Our portfolio boasts an impressive collection of Modern Indian Art from famous painters, exquisite vintage jewellery, fine silverware, rare timepieces, luxurious textiles, coveted celebrity memorabilia, rare books, numismatic treasures, philatelic gems, and even vintage cars. 

  • PUNDOLE’S

TURNOVER: RS.181.9 CR

WORKS SOLD: 296

SELL THROUGH RATE: 99.3%

AVERAGE PRICE: RS.61.4L

It was one of India’s earliest art galleries and it established an auction house way back in the 1963. Founded by Kali Pundole in the vibrant post-independence era, the auction house is one of the most reputed and recognized in India today. The auction house primarily deals with the artworks of the Progressive Artists Group and simultaneously works in close coordination with the Pundole Art Gallery that has been the instrumental to the careers of many modern Indian masters such as M.F. Husain, V.S Gaitonde, Ram Kumar, Akbar Padamsee and F.N. Souza etc.

Top 3 Auctions of FY23

  1. THE FINE ART SALE

(FEBRUARY 2023)

AUCTION HOUSE: PUNDOLE’S

TURNOVER: RS.133.7 CR

SELL THROUGH RATE: 100%

AVERAGE PRICE: 1.7CR

TOP WORK:

RAJA RAVI VARMA

Yashoda Krishna

Oil on Canvas

28.1 x 20 inches

Pundole’s | 2023

Rs. 43.7 CR

Raja Ravi Varma- Yashoda Krishna.
Courtesy Google Arts & Culture

 

Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906) was a prolific Indian artist who is recognized for his resorting to the academic realistic style of painting. His portraits of English and Indian royalty and aristocracy were well-received. His paintings on Hindu religious and mythological subjects and paintings from classical and literary sources were highly sought after even during his lifetime. He painted several copies of his works and this demand led to the suggestion to have his paintings printed in the form of oleographs. The Ravi Varma Fine Art Lithographic Press was established in Bombay (now Mumbai) and commenced operations in 1894. Many of Ravi Varma’s paintings were printed as chromolithographs at this Press. These chromolithographs would have a tremendous impact on religion, society and aesthetics. They went on to democratize art leading to immortalize Ravi Varma in the minds of the people of the Indian subcontinent.

This painting by Raja Ravi Varma depicts Krishna on the lap of an adoring Yashodha. A servant maid looks on.

2. SPRING LIVE AUCTION: MODERN INDIAN ART 

(APRIL 2022)

AUCTION HOUSE: SAFFRONART

TURNOVER: RS.102 CR

SELL THROUGH RATE: 88.2%

AVERAGE PRICE: 2.3CR

TOP WORK:

TYEB MEHTA

Untitled, 1999

Acrylic on Canvas

69 x 59.25 inches

Saffronart | 2022

Rs. 42 CR

Tyeb Mehta-Untitled 1999.
Courtesy: Mutual Art

The symbol of the bull remained a central theme for Tyeb Mehta throughout his career, and the current Untitled work is one of several images created by him in the early 1960s. Like his fellow Progressives, Mehta had diverged from the nationalist art promoted by the Bengal school, in favour of an Indian avant-garde inspired by European mannerism. Moving to London in 1958, Mehta encountered the works of the Expressionists, and became inspired by their choice of thick colour application and bold lines. Critics note that the artist was equally influenced by Francis Bacon and his distinctive macabre distortions that spoke to him of turmoil and anguish. In his own works, he promptly adopted a thick impasto technique, a visual element that would dominate the early stages of his career. The bull, equally, remained a symbol of power for Mehta throughout his career, although its paradigms shifted gradually with the progression of Mehta as an artist.

3. SOUTH ASIAN MODERN + CONTEMPORARY ART 

(MARCH 2023)

AUCTION HOUSE: CHRISTIE’S

TURNOVER: RS.94.1CR

SELL THROUGH RATE: 100%

AVERAGE PRICE: 1.6CR

TOP WORK:

MANNJIT BAWA

Untitled (Durga), 2004

Oil on Canvas

61 x 81 inches

Christie’s | 2023

Rs. 16.4 CR

Mannjit Bawa.-Untitled Durga 2004.
Courtesy Mutual Art

Bawa’s luminescent monochromatic realities do not represent a void, nor are they merely a formal mechanism of tableau, but a tangible entity which is as central to the work as the figures suspended within it. The present lot is one of very few known works of this scale to have a black painted background. The effect is striking, saturating the canvas with an almost cosmic luminescence. Yet, what is particular to this monumental painting of Durga, is that through his flowing forms Bawa also imbues his protagonist with rhythmic movement. Here, Bawa conjures a window into another world, revealing a realm of imagination, myth, mysticism and magic. In the present painting, Bawa distills figuration to its most essential elements, giving primacy to figure over narrative, and exploring the palettes of miniature painting traditions in fields of color devoid of any sign of brushwork. In elevating color and form, Bawa’s oeuvre eliminates extraneous detail in favor of an ambiguous, horizon-less space. Bawa insisted such, “Stylisation and figuration cannot be forced or imitated — it flows naturally from an individual premise.

India boasts a diverse and vibrant auction house scene, with several prominent players contributing to the thriving art, antiques, and collectible market. All these auction houses have played a pivotal role in shaping the country’s cultural and artistic landscape. Through their exceptional auctions and innovative approaches, these top auction houses continue to showcase India’s rich heritage while engaging collectors and enthusiasts both locally and globally.

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