(Bloomberg) -- Amrita Sher-Gil, hailed as “India’s Frida Kahlo,” fetched a record price for a work by an Indian artist — a sum that, while modest by global standards, reflects the burgeoning potential of the country’s art market.
Sher-Gil’s 1937 painting The Story Teller sold for the equivalent of $7.44 million on Saturday — enough to beat the previous record, set just a few days earlier by S.H. Raza. The Sher-Gil canvas — depicting a group of women gathered and conversing in a circle — was sold in New Delhi by Saffronart, an auction house.
The price tag may not be staggering in the rarefied art world, where the priciest pieces command tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars. Nonetheless, the sale shows that art collectors remain willing to snap up fine art in an increasingly affluent India.
“India is at a particularly important point in terms of making its mark on the global stage,” Minal Vazirani, co-founder and president of Saffronart, said in an interview. “There is a fair bit of interest in India and Indian culture, both in terms of historic antiquities, but also contemporary art.”
Sotheby’s held its first Indian auction in Mumbai in 2018, after competitor Christie’s withdrew from live auctions in the country before that following dwindling sales.
Billionaires’ Demand for Art to Jewels in India Lures Sotheby’s
Wealthy Indians, known for parking money in gold and real estate, are increasingly expanding into other investments, including stocks and bonds — and art offers another alternative.
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