Vasudeo S Gaitonde work to auction at Sotheby's

An untitled work by Indian painter Vasudeo S Gaitonde (1924-2001) is to auction at Sotheby's.

It's the largest piece in his oeuvre and will headline the March 15 Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art sale in New York.

Vasudeo Gaitonde Untitled
Vasudeo S Gaitonde is one of India's most celebrated artists

The piece was commissioned by Air India in 1960, to celebrate the acquisition of its first Boeing 707. However, the company wasn't pleased with the result and refused to pay.

Gaitonde's friend and patron, Bal Chhabda, then stepped in and bought it. While Chhabda often bought and sold Gaitonde's works, he kept this painting on display at his home in Bombay for many years - indicating the deep affection he felt for it.

The work is valued at $2.5m-3.5m. The record for Gaitonde's work stands at $4.4m, set at Christie's Mumbai last year.

The size and significance of the present lot could see it exceed that figure.

Amrita Sher-Gil's Untitled (In the Garden) is valued at $1.8m-3m.

Sher-Gil (1913-1941) is India's most famous female painter. She only produced around 175 paintings in her short life, of which 95 are held in Delhi's National Gallery of Modern Art.

The work is a plein-air scene painted at her family home in Zebegeny in Hungary (she was half Hungarian). It dates to 1938, a period when she was at the height of her creative powers.

Her record is $2.9m, set for a self-portrait at Sotheby's last year.

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