An untitled masterpiece by Vasudeo S Gaitonde has topped the New York auction of the Amaya Collection, held at Sotheby's on March 19.
The 1962 work sold for $965,000, making a 20.6% increase on its $800,000 high estimate. The Amaya Collection is one of the most important holdings of Indian art, amassed by former Christie's employee and renowned collector Amrita Jhaveri.
The sale was Sotheby's second auction of Asia Week New York, with its Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art sale taking place earlier in the day. It starred a "$3" Song dynasty bowl that realised $2.2m.
Gaitonde (1924-2001) was one of many modern artists to emerge following India's independence, though was not an official member of the Bombay Progressive Artist's Group, which includes such luminaries as FN Souza, S H Raza, MF Husain and Tyeb Mehta. A fiercely independent artist, he strove to separate himself from outside influences to achieve the purest form of expression.
Gaitonde's work is extremely rare at auction, as the artist produced very few canvases during his lifetime due to his meticulous nature.
Following the Gaitonde was Sayed Haider Raza's Rajasthan I, which sold for $809,000, just pushing past its $800,000 high estimate. The 1983 piece sees Raza bringing together his experiences from France and India in what Sotheby's describes as an "ultimate depiction of nature".
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