Series of drawings by V.S. Gaitonde, one of India’s most important modern artists, sold for a total of £727,000 ($1,12 million) at Bonhams Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art sale on June 11th in London. The six untitled ink on paper drawings, estimated between £20,000-35,000 ($30,000-54,000) each were acquired directly from the artist by American abstract painter Morris Graves, who visited Gaitonde’s studio in 1963. He was so excited by the works that he sent an aerogram that same day to Dan and Marian Johnson of the Willard Gallery in New York.
This series of drawings, part of the same set as a collection in the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, marks a critical turn in Gaitonde’s career: in 1961, he abandoned figuration, adopting the use of rollers and ink and the use of a monochrome palette.
One of the works sold for £158,500 ($245,000), three for £146,500 ($226,500) and the remaining two for £134,000 ($207,000).
Other highlights included, Untitled (Self Portrait) by Maqbool Fida Husain which sold for £56,250 ($87,000) and Horse by the same artist which made £47,500 ($734,700). Untitled (Birds) by Shalir Ali was bought for £52,500 ($81,200) against an estimate of £5,000-7,000 ($7,700-10,000).
In total the sale made £1,370,000 ($2,120,000) and over 90% of the lots were sold.