Measuring 3ft 11in (1.2m) square, it dated from 1995 and was one of the artist’s Bindu pictures – a key part of his oeuvre often featuring black orbs signifying rebirth or the seed of creation.
Crucially, it had a good provenance having originally been acquired by the Canadian investor Peter Cundhill and subsequently donated to the Chelsea and Westminster NHS Trust. It was sold on the trust’s behalf at Roseberys’ sale of Antiquities, Islamic & Indian Arts on April 28.
The auction house reported interest from the UK, Middle East and India, and the price fetched was the highest at a UK auction for one of Raza’s Bindu pictures. The highest price for any work by Raza in the UK remains the £2.1m for Saurashtra sold at Christie’s in 2010.
In explaining the level of demand, head of Islamic and Indian arts at Roseberys Alice Bailey said: “The current retrospective of Raza’s works at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the first major retrospective of the artist’s works, was a significant contributing factor. The exhibition of 90 works was a culmination of a series of exhibitions in Indian museums and has cemented Raza’s status as an important figure in the history of modern art.
“The work was also attractively estimated and appealed to many interested parties. Raza’s paintings from the Bindu series are an enduring subject matter appreciated for their bold colours and profound symbolism that is deeply rooted in Indian culture.”
With the auction house contacting The Raza Foundation in New Delhi in advance of the sale, the work will now be included in volume III of the artist’s catalogue raisonné by Anne Macklin.