Today at Sothebys
in London, the single owner sale of The Sven Gahlin Collection, an unparalleled collection of Indian miniature painting, doubled pre-sale expectations with a total of £4.6m (est. £2-2.8m). Estimates for the 157 lots on offer ranged from £500 to £80,000, but many works achieved far in excess of their estimates. The sale was led by a magnificent 17th-century painting depicting a Mughal Prince on horseback which sold for £329,000 (est. £60,000-80,000).
Encompassing the Mughal, Deccani and Rajput courts, as well as Company School Painting from the period of the British Raj, the works offered are remarkable for their distinguished provenance. Many of the paintings are signed by or attributed to royal court artists and were commissioned by the elite of the age, providing a glimpse into the refinement, power and privilege of courtly life.
A prince holding a falcon and galloping through a rocky landscape, Deccan, Golconda, circa 1680-1700. Estimate: £60,000 - 80,000. SOld for: £329,000 ($498,369)
This painting, depicting Mughal royalty, is a magnificent example of Deccani art, combining the intense yet dreamlike character of Deccani painting with the regal formality of the Mughal school of painting. This piece was exhibited in London at the Hayward Gallery in 1982.
A lady with the young Tobias in a landscape, attributed to Keshav Das, circa 1575-80. Estimate: £50,000 - 70,000. Sold for: £112,500 ($170,415)
This early work is by Keshav Das (also known as Kesu Das), one of the leading painters of Emperor Akbar's royal atelier. It shows the strong influence of European engravings, which began to appear with the arrival of Portuguese Christians and Jesuit missionaries at the Mughal court. The subject depicted here is a variation on the Biblical story of Tobias and the Angel, which was a popular theme with Mughal artists.
The Emperor Bahadur Shah I enthroned, attributable to Bhavanidas, Mughal, circa 1707. Estimate: £60,000 - 80,000. Sold for: £185,000 ($280,238)
This miniature is an important example of Mughal ceremonial court art in the early eighteenth century. It was probably painted as an accession portrait and depicts the Emperor Bahadur Shah I (r.1707-12) receiving his four sons while seated on the Peacock Throne. It is attributable to Bhavanidas, the leading artist at the Mughal court at this time.
Todays sale featured as part of Sothebys Indian and Islamic Art Week in London which continues tomorrow with the Arts of the Islamic World auction.