It was commissioned by Air India to commemorate the addition of transatlantic flights to their schedule, the auction house said in a statement. The art sale included works by India’s modern masters, including Amrita Sher-Gil and Raja Ravi Verma, it said. “Our sale built on the growing western interest in Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art with great results for artists such as Nasreen Mohamedi and Bhupen Khakhar who are soon to be the subjects of exhibitions at the newly-opened Met Breuer... They joined the likes of V S Gaitonde and Amrita Sher-Gil at the highest echelons of the auction market,” Yamini Mehta, International Head of Department, Indian and South Asian Art, Sotheby’s said.
An untitled portrait of a lady in a russet and gold sari by Varma, India’s earliest oil painter went for almost 2.5 times its estimate, selling at $586,000. Henry Howard-Sneyd, Chairman of Asian Arts, Americas and Europe at Sotheby’s said the Asia Week total of about 55 million dollars was at the “top of pre-sale expectations, proving that clients across the globe remain actively engaged collecting the finest examples of Asian Art.”