Master painter M F Husain has joined the million-dollar club with one of his paintings on slain theatre artist Safdar Hashmi going under the hammer for over $1 million.
An unidentified art collector went past the keenly fought bidding at an auction organised by Emami Chisel Art Auction House in Kolkata on Saturday evening to bag 'Tribute to Hashmi' for $10.38 lakh (approx Rs 4.4 crore).
Incidentally, this was the first painting of an Indian artist to cross the Rs ten lakh mark in 1987.
The same bidder also added Tyeb Mehta's Kali-III to his collection for the same amount. Mehta's painting had the highest reserve price of Rs 2.5 crore for the bidding.
Out of the 89 works by 70 artists, only ten works remained unsold while organisers fetched about Rs 24 crore from the bidding which was both on floor and online.
Besides works of Husain and Mehta, pioneering painters F N Souza and J Swaminathan also fetched over Rs one crore for their paintings.
Souza's Manor House, whose reserve price was fixed at Rs one crore, was sold for Rs 1.65 crore while J Swaminathan's Birds and Mountains went for Rs 1.76 crore.
Amrita Shergill's two untitled charcoal paintings were sold for Rs 21.85 lakh and Rs 14.85 lakh, while S H Raza's 'Landscape' cost Rs 92 lakh for a bidder.
Organisers said three of the bids were won by bidders from Italy, Mauritius and the United States.
The online bidding began on February 16 on www.emamichisel.com with the final auction held both live and online in Kolkata.
The master artists whose works were up for auction included K G Subrahmanian, Bikash Bhattacharjee, Ram Kumar, Rameshwar Broota and Ganesh Pyne.
The first time entrants in the auction list were Samindranath Majumdhar, Sekar Roy, Chattrapat Dutta, P R Narvekar, Sk. Shahajahan, Amitava Dhar, Sunil De and Ganesh Chandra Basu.
Out of the 70 artists, 11 are no more. There are two artists in the auction list who were born in 19th century -- Nandlal Bose (1882) and Deviprasad Chaudhury (1899). The youngest in the lot was 1975-born Farhad Husain.
Vikram Bachawat, Director of Emammi Chisel Art, said this was the first of the three auctions his group is organising this year.
"We have outsourced works from collectors, who are based in different parts of the country. Through online bidding, the sale is targeted to embrace bidders from within the country and abroad," Bachawat said.
In September, the Emami Chisel group is conducting another auction of modern art and in December a unique auction of sculptures and collector's items like artist's sketch book and other interesting items.