• Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 26 May 2017

RESULTS: South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art

Tyeb Metha (1925-2009), Untitled (Woman on Rickshaw), painted in 1994. Price Realized: £2,741,000 / $3,557,818

LONDON - The 22nd edition of the annual London South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art auction realized the highest result for any sale in this category to date in 2017. A total of £5,901,625 / $7,660,310 was achieved with exceptionally high sell through rates of 91% by lot and 95% by value, again the highest of any auction conducted in the category this year.

Christie’s welcomed clients from over 20 countries to its saleroom in London in person, over the telephone and via the internet. Internet bidding was very active throughout the one and a half hour long auction. 47% of all lots sold saw online bidding, either bought or directly underbid by collectors online with a total of 14 lots successfully sold to internet bidders. Furthermore, over 100 clients followed the auction online.

"Today we had a very strong result, demonstrating that London remains a key location to offer South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art. Achieving the highest total for any sale in the category in 2017 and

selling the most expensive lot this year underlines this fact. The recent auction saw one of the highest rates of participation from new clients in the past years, which is likely related to the fact that the majority of works offered were hitherto unseen on the auction market and consigned from important private collectors," commented Damian Vesey, Head of Sale.

Tyeb Metha’s (1925-2009) Untitled (Woman on Rickshaw) painted in 1994 sold for £2,741,000 / $3,557,818, setting not only a new world auction record for the artist, but also becoming the most expensive work of South Asian Art sold globally this year. Further records were set for Leela Mukherjee, Sunayani Devi and Kamrul Hasan.

A total of 14 lots sold above $100,000 in the sale, with one of the most exciting bidding battles occurring toward the end of the auction for lot 67, the much anticipated deck of 54 playing cards Taash ke Patte, each created by a different Indian artist. The auctioneer, William Robinson opened the lot at £60,000 and the hammer fell three minutes later at £281,000 / $363,457 (with premium), after taking bids from more than 5 bidders in the room and on the phones.

The auction celebrated 70 years of Indian Independence and the Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG), which was founded in 1947. The founding members included the masters Francis Newton Souza, Maqbool Fida Husain, Syed Haider Raza, Sadanand Bakre, Krishnaji Howlaji Ara and Hari Ambadas Gade. Works by these artists performed well in the auction.

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