Jehangir Sabavala’s painting draws forth a record sum of Rs 2.1 cr

Updated: Jun 08, 2012, 14:02 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Little did modernist painter Jehangir Sabavala know that one fine day his artwork named ‘Vespers 1’ would gain everything that an artist years to earn in his lifetime. Yet, ironically he won’t be able to bask in that glory due to his untimely demise.

On Thursday, London’s famous auction house ‘Bonhams’ sold off Sabavala’s most-talked about painting ‘Vespers 1’ for a record high sum of 2,53,650 GBP (INR 2.1 crore) after a salesroom row between two bidders.

The works of this late Parsi artist, who died battling with lung cancer for a year, have been riding high the auction ladder in all these years.

Mehreen Rizvi, Head of Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art at Bonhams while talking to the media post the sale, said "We are delighted with this result for Sabavala. It is about time this artist achieved commercial success in the art market to mirror his artistic reputation".

Jehangi Sabavala had a distinctive style of dabbling with light, color and textures in his paintings. Surprisingly, during a career spanning 60 years, he did not produce many works.

Ranjit Hoskote, an independent curator who was responsible for the Indian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2011, reveals "Sabavala had a lifelong fascination with monastic life, and the figures of the monk and the hermit are central to his work. Indeed, he often compared his long, solitary and disciplined hours of work in the studio with a monk`s routine of study, prayer, retreat and meditation.”

‘Vespers 1’ was first exhibited at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai and at Sabavala’s solo exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute in London.