Bhupen Khakhar sets a new record when the painting reaches more than 22 cr in the sale of Sotheby's

New Delhi, June 11 () Two Men in Benares, of Bhupen Khakhar, won a whopping 22.39 million rupees on Monday at Sotheby's modern and contemporary South Asian art auction, which set a new record for the artist.

The 1982 work became Khakhar's most expensive painting, leaving behind his De-luxe Tailors (1972), which sold for 9.71 million rupees at the Sotheby's auction of the Howard Hodgkin collection in 2017.

In 1986, with the presentation of Two Men in Benares in Mumbai, Khakhar became the first Indian artist to freely reveal his sexual orientation through his work.

Khakhar's painting was one of 29 works of Indian art of the twentieth century that were submitted to the private collection of Swiss collectors Guy and Helen Barbier in the sale that made a combined total of Rs 66.23 crore.

The auction house said it was the highest total achieved in a decade for a sale of this type at Sotheby's in London.

M F Husain Marathi Woman (1950) quadrupled his pre-sale estimate to sell for Rs 3.84 crore; a rare unclaimed figurative work by Ram Kumar, painted as a gift to his wife in 1953, sold for Rs 4.58 crore, doubling his pre-sale estimate of Rs 2.47 million years, and Anatomy of that old story ( 1970) from Rameshwar Broota's Ape series also quadrupled its estimate to make Rs 3.73 crore. These exceptional results are an appropriate tribute to the pioneering spirit of Guy and Helen Barbier, who passionately sought out exceptional examples of Indian art at a time when few others thought so, said Ishrat Kanga, sales manager. TRS MG MG

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