Three impressive works from Maqbool Fida Husain led Sotheby's Modern and Contemporary Art sale in New York yesterday (September 12).
Associated with Indian modernism, MF Husain is perhaps India's most prominent artist. A prolific worker, his art has seen a dramatic increase in popularity since his death in June 2011.
The auction's top lot came from an untitled piece, which originated from Husain's renowned Maya series of the 1960s. Against a $500,000-700,000 estimate, it sold for $782,500 - an 11.7% increase.
Another untitled piece, known as Dancers under the Full Moon, provided a superb example of Husain's narrative works, which are unfailingly executed in a cubist style. The piece originated from the collection of the late June and John Lewis and sold 93.6% above its $150,000 high estimate, to bring $290,500.
From the collection of Abe and Jan Weisblat came a bold piece depicting a female figure with a bird resting on her toe. Husain was known for the occasional light-hearted piece, which reflected his eccentric character. Despite holding the lowest estimate of the works offered ($50,000-70,000), the work achieved an impressive increase of 143.5%, selling for $170,500.
Bidders will have more opportunities to bid on Husain's work on September 19-20, when his That Obscure Object of Desire, inspired by his work as a cinema billboard artist, will sell with a $220,000-280,000 in India.
More impressive results were seen at Sotheby's by Syed Haider Raza's Noel, which the artist created in 1959. It sold for $194,500, the third highest price achieved in the auction. Raza became India's most valuable artist in 2010, after Saurashtra sold for nearly $3.5m at Christie's.Find out why Indian art is being tipped as one of the strongest investments of the coming years.