London: A stunning image by one of India's foremost modern artists Jehangir Sabavala sold for a record 253,650 pounds to lead a strong selection of works by major South Asian artists at the Bonhams annual summer sale of Modern and Contemporary South Asian art on Thursday.
Sabavala's piece of art Vespers I had been estimated to sell for 100,000-150,000 pounds but after a saleroom tussle between two buyers, it was knocked down for a massive 253,650 pounds - a world record for an Indian at Bonhams.
Illustrated on the cover of his monograph by Ranjit Hoskote, 'The Crucible of Painting: The Art of Jehangir Sabavala, Vespers I' is one of Sabavala's most important works, representing a key period of transition in the artist's oeuvre
It was first exhibited at the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai and then at his solo exhibition at the Commonwealth Institute, London.
"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," says Hoskote, an independent curator who was responsible for the Indian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2011.