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Saffronart's Kochi-Muziris Biennale Fundraiser Auction raises $425,000 USD for the biennale
Amrita Sher-Gil, Untitled, 1927. Image courtesy: Artist, Saffronart and Kochi Biennale.

MUMBAI.- Collectors, artists and gallerists came together in a display of solidarity in support of the ​Kochi-Muziris Biennale Fundraiser Auction ​held by Saffronart. ​The art, generously donated by leading Modern and Contemporary artists, raised a total value of ​INR 2.75 crores with 98% of works being sold​. The total proceeds will go towards the Kochi-Muziris Biennale which will greatly enhance the​ ​Foundation’s​ ​efforts​ ​to​ ​sustain​ ​the​ ​Biennale​ ​through​ ​2018​ ​and​ ​beyond. 

KBF Secretary Riyas Komu ​said, "With the support of artists, Saffronart and the collectors, we have triggered a good momentum for our fundraising initiatives for the 2018 edition of Biennale. Thanks to everyone who supported it, it brings together a much needed ecosystem to sustain such non-commercial projects. Through this auction, we have been able to generate a fair amount of money which will also be used to support art production. In a different context, it shows that there is a great amount of interest and solidarity among the artist community and also the art world to sustain the Biennale and its cultural possibilities in celebrating​ ​the​ ​diversity.” 

Leading the sale was a 1927 watercolour by ​Amrita Sher-Gil​. The painting, which was among the first few to be auctioned, set the tone for the sale as bids poured in the across the room and online. It tripled its pre-sale estimate of INR 15 – 20 lakhs (USD $23,440 – 31,250), selling for INR 49 lakhs ($76,563). Continuing the excitement in the room,​Subodh Gupta’s stainless steel installation exceeded its pre-sale estimate of INR 15 –20 lakhs (USD $23,440 – 31,250), selling for INR 25 lakhs ($39,063), as bidders continued to show their support​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Biennale.  

Francesco Clemente’s​ ​Ascendin, which was hammered down at INR 14 lakhs ($21,875), was among the top ten lots sold alongside works by​Himmat Shah, B Manjunath Kamath, Benitha Perciyal, T V Santhosh, Prajakta​ ​Palav​ ​Aher​​ ​and​ ​​G​ ​R​ ​Iranna​.

Dinesh Vazirani, ​Co-founder of Saffronart​, ​said, “We are delighted to have supported the Kochi Biennale Foundation in its fundraising efforts, and look forward to continue supporting them in the future. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale has established itself as one of India’s largest and most reputed biennales, with the previous three editions attracting artists and visitors from around the world. We were proud to raise a total of INR 2.75 crores towards sustaining an event of its scale and kind. It was refreshing to see contemporary artists perform so well; this shows a revived strength in the market. The support shown by collectors and the art​ ​fraternity​ ​was​ ​overwhelming.” 

Saffronart first conducted a fundraiser auction in 2015 for the 2016-17 edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. The auction saw a total sale value of INR 2.3 crores, with 93% of lots being sold. The 2​nd fundraiser auction saw a 20% increase in total sales compared to the previous edition, and has established the auction as an important​ ​resource​ ​for​ ​generating​ ​revenues. 

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