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Home >Industry >Advertising >Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde’s paintings sell for $3.7 million in New York

New York: Paintings by one of India’s most important modern artists went under the hammer in New York on Wednesday, selling for more than expected at over $3.7 million, auction houses said.

Three untitled oils on canvas by pioneering Indian abstract artist Vasudeo Santu Gaitonde, who in 1964 based himself in New York, were auctioned by Christie’s and Bonhams.

The Bonhams canvases, signed and dated 1961 and 1963, came from the artist’s “non-objective" series, and fetched $1.08 million and $1.68 million respectively, Bonhams said.

Both sold for significantly more than their pre-auction upper estimates, and in the case of the 1961 canvas more than double.

The auction house did not identify the buyers further than describing them as international.

Christie’s sold a 1971 “Untitled" in moss green for $965,000, which it said showcases the “painter, philosopher and alchemist at the zenith of his career".

The auction house said it was bought by an Asian private buyer.

Experts say Gaitonde, who has been compared to Mark Rothko at his best, is poised to join the international modern art canon, in the robust, emerging market in modern Indian art.

The Guggenheim in New York on 24 October opens the first museum exhibition dedicated to the famously reclusive artist, and Gaitonde’s work has recently set records in the Asian art world.

In 2012, Christie’s set a world record for a modern Indian painting by selling a canvas for $3.79 million.

Born in Nagpur, India in 1924, Gaitonde was inspired early on by Swiss artist Paul Klee, then turned towards abstraction and cultivated a lifelong interest in Zen Buddhism.

He studied in Bombay and in 1964 lived at New York’s Chelsea Hotel, then a cultural hub that housed Bob Dylan, Arthur Miller and Leonard Cohen.

The last decade has seen an astonishing explosion in the global market for Asian art, fuelled by new wealth in the region, particularly in China.

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