For comments on this Auction, please contact:
Redge Martin, President Clars Auction Gallery
(510) 428-0100, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CLARS AUCTION GALLERY SETS NEW WORLD RECORD FOR INDIAN ARTIST
Oakland, CA – There was a feeling of electricity buzzing through the saleroom at Clars Auction Gallery on Sunday March 5th. Perhaps because it would turn out to be the second largest auction in the firm’s 50 plus year history with sales totaling just over $1.25 million. Or, perhaps because it would be the day that they would set a new world record for one of India’s premier artists. Clars March 5th Outstanding Estate Auction featured over 700 lots of antique and estate items including over 150 works of art from national and international artists. It was the art offerings however, which took center stage at the sale. There were over 1,000 live registered bidders plus over 2,000 internet bidders for this sale. (Final sale prices reported include buyers premiums: Phone/Absentee/Floor:17% up to $70,000, 10% over $70,000; Internet: 20% up to $70,000, 13% over $70,000)
President Redge Martin and specialist Kathy Wong knew they had something, they just didn’t know how big it would be. The painting in the spotlight was “The Bangle Sellers (1954)” by Jehangir Sabavala (Indian 1931 -). This framed oil on canvas was signed in the lower right. The artist himself had originally sold this work to an American at the 1956 All-India Fine Arts and Crafts Society. “The Bangle Sellers” came to Clars as part of a Northern California estate.
Always tracking art sale trends, Martin was aware of the burgeoning art market from post-independence Indian artists and the increase in dollars being spent. This trend was further confirmed in the December 23, 2005 issue of Forbes Magazine in their article entitled “Indian Summer.” In the article, Forbes pointed out the escalating hammer prices for some Indian artists with recent sales at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s bringing $800,000 to over $1.4 million for individual works. Forbes attributed this trend to India’s “newly thriving middle class, hungry to express pride in it’s cultural heritage and market visibility…”
Jehangir Sabavala practices in the modernist style with a deeply ingrained classical influence. He creates almost geometric wedges out of paint, which he puts together to form vast, tranquil scenes. In recent years at auction his paintings brought between $20,000 and $65,000 at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s. In December of 2005 however, his oil on canvas entitled “The Riders (1966)” sold at Christie’s Paris for $119,577(US) against a pre-sale estimate of $29,000 - $41,000 (US). Based on this amazing jump in sale price, what would “The Bangle Sellers” bring?
Clars had assigned a pre-sale estimate of $20,000 to $30,000 on Sabavala’s work. Clars staff was ready manning 15 phone lines with phone bidders from around the world. President/auctioneer Redge Martin opened the bidding at $20,000 and off it went. It was only seconds before a phone bidder from