A watercolour and gold portrait of Rawat Gokal Das celebrating the Hindu festival Holi sold for six times its high estimate at Bonhams' Indian, Himalayan & Southeast Asian art sale yesterday (March 19).
The portrait, by master Indian artist Bagta (1761-1814), brought $302,500, six times its $30,000-50,000 pre-sale estimate.
The consigner bought the piece two decades ago for a mere $125. This corresponds to an impressive 47.64% pa return.
Bonhams' department specialist Edward Wilkinson said of the result: "It was truly incredible to witness the sale of this work come to fruition. Bringing in a lot of this caliber has proven to be not only a highlight of my career but also a highlight for Bonhams and for this 2012 Asia Week."
Bagta's artworks are featured in an exhibition entitled "Wonder of the Age, Master Painters of India, 1100-1900" which opened in the Museum Rietberg in Zurich and is currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Other top lots at the auction, which realised $3.2m in total, included a 14th century gilt copper alloy figure of Syamatara (Green Tara) which bought $482,500, and a 16th century figure of Radha which realised $254,500.
Asia Week New York (March 16-24) is being celebrated by five auction houses, including Sotheby's whose revenue grew by 7% in 2011, boosted by strong sales of modern art, and art auctions in Asia.
Keep an eye on our latest news for all the latest updates on auction results this Asia Week.