Prinseps break auction records for Bhanu Athaiya and Atul Bose

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Prinseps break auction records for Bhanu Athaiya and Atul Bose
Atul Bose, Sphinx, 1960. Oil on canvas.

MUMBAI.- Prinseps’s groundbreaking virtual auctions of the Bhanu Athaiya and Atul Bose Estates, that took place on 2nd and 3rd December, broke records for the highest value works sold for both artists. Hosted live on Zoom by auctioneer Brijeshwari Kumari Gohil, the two auctions saw bids from across India, Dubai, England and the US. The Bhanu Athaiya Estate Sale auction totaled ₹88 lakhs and the Atul Bose Evening Sale totaled ₹1.64 crores

The Bhanu Athaiya Estate Sale saw strong interest across the board with a particularly excited flurry of bids for the watercolor paintings. Other notable sales include Lady in Repose and the cover lot Prayers which sold for ₹13,75,000 and ₹43,75,000 respectively - both works had previously been exhibited at the first ever, eponymously titled exhibition of the Progressive Artists Group at the Bombay Arts Society in 1953. Prayers went to the collection of one of India’s prominent art collectors, who requested to remain anonymous.

The Bhanu Athaiya Estate Sale was Prinseps’ first ‘white glove sale’ of the season with all 32 lots selling and demonstrating a strong interest in Bhanu Athaiya historically significant work.

The Atul Bose Estate Sale saw another spectacular evening for Prinseps. The star of the evening was a painting titled Studio Corner, a 1926 oil on canvas, which went under the hammer at ₹ 43,75,000 , almost 20 lakhs over the upper estimate. Other noteworthy sales included a portrait of Rabindranath Tagore (1976), which sold for ₹27,50,000 and an oil on canvas painting titled Sphinx (1926), which went under the hammer at ₹17,50,000. The portrait of Rabindranath Tagore had been a gift from the artist to Bengal’s first Governor after Independence, hence carrying a strong legacy with it.

Commenting on the auctions, Indrajit Chatterjee, Founder of Prinseps said - “We are delighted with the result of both the Bhanu Athaiya and Atul Bose estate auctions. The results reaffirm our belief in the value of presenting hidden gems from the art historical canon and beyond. These sales are the culmination of a huge amount of meticulous research on our part, which was elevated by the brilliant catalogue essays by Prof. Partha Mitter and Ranjit Hoskote, which are certain to go down as important documentation for posterity. This was also our first virtual auction, conducted expertly by Brijeshwari Kumari Gohil, who was joining us from her ancestral home in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. We are also grateful to the trust placed in us by the Athaiya family, whose faith and support made the landmark Bhanu Athaiya sale possible.”

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