A predominantly online auction house for Indian art, Saffronart was founded in Mumbai in 2000 by Minal and Dinesh Vazirani. It is noted for being the first Indian auction house to operate and hold auctions online and through phone bidding, alongside physical auctions in Mumbai, New Delhi, New York and London.
The inaugural online auction by the gallery included works by Modernist artists such as Ramkinkar Baij, NS Bendre, MF Husain, SH Raza, FN Souza, VS Gaitonde, Somnath Hore, Amrita Sher-Gil, Ram Kumar and Sakti Burman. Saffronart briefly faced closure in 2003, owing to a lack of public interest and slowing down of the market. However, with the rise in commercial interest and widespread collecting during the Indian Art Boom, Saffronart flourished, recording one of their best years in sales in 2006–07. In 2009, they launched a smartphone app to facilitate participation in their online auctions.
They began conducting live physical auctions in 2013. Saffronart’s auctions typically feature Modernist artworks, with Gaitonde and Sher-Gil’s works leading the demand. During their spring auction, held in March 2021, an untitled work by Gaitonde from 1961 sold for INR 39.98 crore (USD 5.5 million), setting the world record for the highest price achieved by an Indian artwork in an auction, before it was broken by another Gaitonde work, which sold for INR 42 crore. In their April 2022 auction, Tyeb Mehta’s untitled work from 1999 became the second highest Indian artwork, fetching INR 41.97 crore (USD 5.5 million).
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