When Saffronart kicks off its summer auction this Wednesday, its auction website will have a new look. An improved user interface will provide all bidder information—including current prices, personal updates and all art work—on a single page. “It lets you control all the bidding in a single place. It’s eliminated the need to refresh (the webpage) so much,” said Minal Vazirani, co-founder of Saffronart.
To inaugurate the new site, the house will return to combining its modern and contemporary sales, with a range of expected names such as S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat and others. Expected to fetch between Rs27-33 crores, the auction will feature relatively rare works, including Germination—a large-scale Raza from the early 1990s in his trademark geometric style; a paper and ink drawing of Louis Armstrong by Souza; and a pastel drawing featuring two men by Jogen Chowdhury.
Despite a price correction in the last couple of years, the modern-art market appears to have rebounded in recent months, a development that Saffronart hopes will fuel its summer sale. “There has been a significant upswing in the modern end of the market,” Vazirani said. “This has been fuelled by Indian collectors. That’s why you’re beginning to see premium works going for significant prices.”
Among the higest-priced lots will be Raza’s Germination with a reserve price of Rs2.7- 3.7 crores and an untitled work by modernist Jagdish Swaminathan with a reserve price of Rs 70-90lakh.
Though Saffonart buyers are typically split between India and abroad, Vazirani says they have little idea as to how the combined sale will pan out. “The buyer base tends to be a little different for each,” Vazirani said in regards to the modern and contemporary buying base, with the contemporary market drawing more interest from collectors of non-Indian origin.
The auction will take place on 18-19 June at www.saffronart.com