A painting which celebrates Indias Republic Day 26th January 1950 was sold yesterday (2nd June 2010) at Bonhams
for £120,000 in a sale of Modern & Contemporary Middle Eastern & South Asian Art.
A packed saleroom and keen bidding took the 86 lot sale to a final total of £1.7m with 97 per cent sold by value.
Lot 21, Bhupen Khakhars (India, 1934-2003) oil on canvas titled Republic Day, was estimated to sell for a conservative £30,000-40,000. The work was keenly contested for by a number of overseas buyers and tripled its top estimate to £120,000.
The Republic Day of India commemorates the date on which the Constitution of India came into force replacing the Government of India Act 1935 as the governing document of India on the 26th January 1950.
The top lot in the sale was a stunning turquoise and gold jar painted by Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri which made £150,000 against an estimate of £40,000 to £60,000. A second Moshiri sold for £48,000. Moshiris work Eshgh (Love) was the first work by a Middle Eastern artist to sell for over $1m at auction with Bonhams in Dubai two years ago.
Strong prices were also achieved for Maqbol Fida Husain (India) - £96,000 and £81,600; Nasrollah Afjehel (Iran), Mahmoud Said (Egypt), Jamil Naqsh (Pakistan), Jehangir Sabavala (India), and Sadequain (Pakistan).
Mehreen Rizvi, Head of Modern and Contemporary Middle Eastern and South Asian Art at Bonhams, commented after the sale: To achieve this result with only 86 lots shows just how strong this market is. Bonhams have been central to building this sector of the art market for a decade, so this is doubly pleasing