Khakhar's American Survey Officer sees 82% gain at Sotheby's

As Asia Week continues in New York, Bhupen Khakhar's (1934-2003) American Survey Officer has sold with excellent results at Sotheby's Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art sale.

Bhupen Khakar American Survey Officer
American Survey Officer serves as a precursor to Khakhar's mature style, which earned him a strong international reputation

The piece, created in 1969 by the leading Indian contemporary artist, sold for $401,000 in the September 18 auction. The price represents an 82.2% increase on its $220,000 high estimate.

The work is a seminal piece for the artist, representing a point in his career when he "developed a local and idiosyncratic language for pop art in India", according to Christie's.

Also starring in the auction was Francis Newton Souza's Untitled (Landscape), which sold for $221,000 against a $200,000-300,000 estimate.

Sharing this sale price was Majit Bawa's iconic representation of Apu, the mascot for the Asian Games hosted in Delhi in 1982. It was commissioned especially for the games, which was a historically important event for India.

Sotheby's was expecting strong results for the sale, with it being the first auction of Indian art to be held in New York since the Amaya Collection in March, which raised $6.7m and saw four artist records achieved, as the first major international auction of the genre.

However, many of the works were met with lacklustre bids and some of the expected top-sellers went unsold this time around.

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