The Most Valuable Contemporary Indian Artists

A look at the most sought after contemporary Indian artists on the global stage.

Salvator Mundi is the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. One of less than 20 known pieces attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, the mysterious painting obliterated all previous records with a winning bid of $450,312,500 in November last year (2017). This makes us wonder how valuable Indian art is in international market. Let’s take a quick look into it in this week’s episode of the Story of Indian Art.

Art from the Subcontinent has gained popularity in the past decade, with prices for contemporary artists reaching millions of US dollars at auction. The most expensive and popular artists in India are modernist masters such as Gaitonde, Souza, and Mehta. Even the younger generations of artists are proving to be much more sought after on the global stage. Let’s meet a few of them.

Subodh Gupta

His record breaking sale of all time was set at Saffron Art auction in June 2008, when a painting featuring images of tin cans, pots and other metal kitchen utensils fetched USD1,427,500, surpassing his previous USD1.2 million sales at Christie’s London and Hong Kong. In 2007, ArtReview Power 100 list included him as one of the three most powerful figures in Indian contemporary art.

Subodh Gupta

Subodh Gupta

Shilpa Gupta

She has risen to stardom in recent years for her cutting-edge multimedia practice that woos audiences worldwide, including at events such as the prestigious Venice Biennale. Gupta’s work at auction at Christie’s and Sotheby’s have commanded prices up to around USD50,000, such as her ‘Untitled’ C-print on canvas sold in 2008, the first year the artist appeared at auction.

Shilpa Gupta

Shilpa Gupta

Ravinder Reddy

His sculptures of deity heads in bright colours reminiscent of traditional Hindu statutory art is very popular. ‘Lakshmi Devi’ (2003), a golden head sculpture, fetched as high as USD312,000 back in 2007 at Christie’s New York sale of Modern and Contemporary Indian Art. ‘Family’, a unique work from 1997 and a modern day adaptation of Chola style depictions of Shiva, Parvati and Skanda (Somaskanda) was sold for USD341,000 at Sotheby’s New York sale of The Amaya Collection of Modern and Contemporary Indian Art in 2013.

Ravinder Reddy

Ravinder Reddy

Bharti Kher

Kher’s renowned ‘The Skin Speaks a Language Not Its Own’ (2006) sold at Sotheby’s London in 2010 for USD1.5 million. This makes Kher the top-selling Indian woman artist and surpassing her husband Subodh Gupta’s selling record of USD1.4 million.

Bharti Kher

Bharti Kher

Atul Dodiya

He is among the most popular and sought after contemporary Indian artists. His work can reach the range of USD500,000 at auction, as seen as early as 2007 at Christie’s Hong Kong Asian Contemporary Art sale, when ‘Lodging in Somnath’ (1989) fetched USD465,818.

Atul Dodiya

Atul Dodiya

Avinash Subramaniam

Avinash has been an advertising writer, fiction writer, poetry writer, freelance writer and serial wronger. Other roles he has been in include those of an editor, brand builder, and teacher. His interests include advertising, scrabble, body building, chess, cinema, making money, reading, internet culture, cricket, photography. To hear him air his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @armchairexpert.

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