Untitled VS Gaitonde painting selling in September

An untitled painting by celebrated Indian artist VS Gaitonde (1924-2001) is auctioning in Christie’s South Asian and Modern Indian Art sale in New York on September 13.

The work dates to 1996, when Gaitonde was at the apex of his ability.

VS Gaitonde 1996

Gaitonde's monolithic works are inspired by zen buddhism 

Christie’s Indian art specialist Nishad Avari explains: “By the time of 1996’s Untitled, we see a painter of great experience…

“This is a canvas that provokes new discoveries with every viewing, showing the balance of light, texture, colour and space that Gaitonde perfected over his career.

“It’s attention-grabbing and yet also incredibly subtle.”

A committed Zen Buddhist, Gaitonde's work shows a strong influence from the religion. He often spent months on a single canvas.

The piece is valued at up to $3.5m, short of the $4.4m record set for another untitled Gaitonde from 1995. That latter figure is also the record for any work of Indian art at auction.  

However, the present specimen could well outperform its estimate.

Gaitonde is at the forefront of the rising appreciation and demand for south Asian art, as collectors come to recognise him as every bit the equal of his contemporaries in the west.

Avari adds: “In recent years, there has been a more globalised understanding of the definition of Modernism.

“An appreciation that its leading artists weren’t necessarily all Anglo-Saxon or Western. And among the Indians, Gaitonde is right at the top of the list.”

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