Hurun Most Successful Indian Artists Alive

Mumbai, Oxford (UK): The Hurun Research Institute today released the second edition of the ranking of India’s most successful artists live today or “Hurun India Art List 2020”, a list of the Top 50 living Indian artists ranked by the sale of their works sold at public auction in the year ending 31 December 2019.

The report also features the list of the Hurun Best-Selling Indian Artists 2020, a list of the Top 50 best-selling Indian artists, which includes both the living artists and also the artists, who have passed away.


Backed by sales of his works at auction last year of INR 44.39 Crores, London-based Anish Kapoor, 66, tops the Hurun India Art List 2020 for the second year

New Delhi-based painter Rameshwar Broota 79, shot up 9 places to second place with sales of INR 11.89 Crores, followed by modernist painter Krishen Khanna, 95, in third place with INR 6.87 Crores

Mumbai-based artists Atul Dodiya, 61, and Jitish Kallat, 45, broke into the Top 10 for the first time

3 of the Top 10 living Indian artists are living in London (Anish Kapoor and Raqib Shaw) and Paris (Sakti Burman)

22% are women artists, led by modernist painter Arpita Singh

Atul Dodiya, Rameshwar Broota and Jitish Kallat are the 3 artists from the list who observed a multi-fold increase in the sale value of their artworks

Total artwork sale was 108.71 Crores, which was 63.41% less as compared to previous year’s sale value

Led by Krishen Khanna, who sold 41 lots, total lots sold was 444, down by 161 lots compared to last year

The most popular form of the art in Hurun India Art List 2020 is Painting (with 28 artists), followed by Sculpting (with 6 artists)

The works of Anish Kapoor, contemporary sculptor, registered the highest demand in terms of value (INR 44.39 Crores), while Krishen Khanna, modernist painter, registered highest sale of lots (41 lots) in the auction houses during the period under review.

Modernist painter Arpita Singh continues to remain the most successful Indian female artist. Singh’s artworks were cumulatively sold at INR 5.09 Crores in the previous year.

The youngest in the list is contemporary artist Valay Shende, aged 39 yrs.Contemporary art style is the most favored one amongst other art styles by the artists.

Abstract, traditional, surrealism, and modernist art styles also seem to have a growing influence on Indian art.The most popular mode of presenting art is painting, followed by sculpting. Whereas, several artists are seen using more than one mode of expression. For instance, contemporary artist Subodh Gupta uses painting and sculpting both, in order to express his art.98% of the artists from the list were born in India and 17% live outside India.

New Delhi continues to remain the art capital of India with 19 of the list, followed by Mumbai with 12.From amongst the artists who have a birthplace in India, Kerala led with 9, followed by Maharashtra and West Bengal, where 8 and 6 artists were born, respectively.

(22-May-2020, Mumbai and Oxford, UK): The Hurun Research Institute today released the Hurun India Art List 2020, a ranking of the Top 50 Indian artists alive today based on the sales of their works at public auction in the year ending 31 December 2019. Artprice, the world’s largest compiler of art statistics, provided the data. This is the second edition of the Hurun India Art List.

Anas Rahman Junaid, Managing Director and Chief Researcher of Hurun Report India said, “India’s art auction market still only represents 0.4% of the global art auction market, behind the USA, China and the UK, which enjoy 35%, 31% and 15% of US$13.3 billion market. Despite India now having more and more potential collectors, Covid-19, the 2008 financial crisis and demonetization have all slowed down the art market in India. I hope the Hurun India Art List, showcasing the most successful artists alive, can encourage India’s entrepreneurs to collect India’s top living artists.”

Hurun Report Chairman and Chief Researcher Rupert Hoogewerf said: “The fact that exactly half of the Top 50 best-selling Indian artists are alive today is a global phenomenon. Despite so many great Indian artists throughout the ages, of the Top 50 that sold best at public auction in the last year, half are alive today shows that this generation of Indian artists is truly special."

For the second consecutive time, London-based sculpture Anish Kapoor (66) tops the Hurun India Art List 2020 with sales of his works at public auction of INR 44.39 Crores. Kapoor is known for using granite, marble, limestone and plaster to make geometric structures. Kapoor is the only artist to own the exclusive right to use the ‘blackest black’ pigment in the world developed by Vantablack. An accomplished sculptor, Kapoor received a knighthood during the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2013 for his contribution to visual arts. A total of 39 of his artworks were sold last year.

Rameshwar Broota (79) holds second place, with total sales of INR 11.89 Crores. A New Delhi based artist, Broota’s work revolves around paintings of male bodies. His artwork named ‘Anatomy of that Old Story’ is believed to have fetched the highest value amongst his other artworks that were sold in the previous year. Broota has also been the head of Triveni Kala Sangam, an art and cultural education centre in New Delhi.

With the total sale of INR 6.87 Crores this year, modernist painter Krishen Khanna (95) is the third most accomplished living Indian artist. 41 of his works have been sold in the past year. Amongst his artworks that were under the bid last year, his painting named ‘Drowning Girl’ was the highest achiever. One his renowned works is his contribution to ‘Tash Ke Patte’ (Deck of Cards), an artwork that was made by 100 artists, and it had collectively made US$365mn in 2017. Most of Khanna’s work is figurative. Bordering on the narrative, his work captures moments in history, much as photographs do.

Raqib Shaw (46) comes fourth with his works grossing a turnover of INR 5.42 Crores in a total of 8 lots last year. Kashmir-born Shaw’s highest grossing piece was sold for INR 2.90 Crores and his most revered piece of work is the ‘An ode dissolving silk of dusk’. Shaw combines images of fantasy, sexuality, beauty, and violence to create intricate and labor-intensive paintings and drawings. He is currently based in the UK.

At the fifth place, Arpita Singh (83), is the highest-ranked female Indian artist. Singh’s works have been sold for a total of INR 5.09 Crores in 9 lots. A figurative artist and a modernist, Arpita Singh is known for using traditional Indian art forms and aesthetics. Her highest grossing piece was worth INR 2.05 Crores. Some of her most well-known paintings are ‘Child Bride with Swan’ and ‘Girl Smoking Cigarette’, showing her inclination to create women-centric works.

With 22 works gone under the hammer, Sakti Burman (85) is the sixth most successful artist with his work cumulatively fetching INR 3.69 Crores. His artwork installation named ‘Vehicle for the Seven Seas’ was the one that received highest pricing last year. The Paris-based artist, who is both a sculptor and a painter, conducted his first solo exhibition in 1954 in Kolkata and has since exhibited widely across the world. Burman’s paintings often evoke a surrealist feel, referencing multiplicities of time and place. His art draws extensively from Hindu and European mythology.

New Delhi-based contemporary painter and sculptor Subodh Gupta (56) takes the seventh place in the Hurun India Art List 2020. 8 of his works sold through auction fetched a cumulative successful bids worth INR 3.62 Crores. His art incorporates around every day Indian household objects themed to celebrate the lifestyle middle-class India. Gupta’s most famous work is the ‘Line of Control’.

Mumbai-born contemporary artist Atul Dodiya (61), ranks eighth in the Hurun India Art List 2020. During the period covered under the Art List, Atul has sold his artworks for INR 3.19 Crores. Out of those, his artwork named ‘Honeycomb’ was sold at INR 0.99 Crores. In May 2019, Atul received the honor of representing India at the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, popularly known as Venice Biennale, held in Venice, Italy.

Accomplished painter and sketcher, Thota Vaikuntam (78) holds the ninth place in the Hurun India Art List, 2020. Vaikuntam, whose 33 works have grossed more than INR 2.72 Crores last year, is a recipient of several national and state level awards from the Govt. of India. Hailing from rural Andhra Pradesh, people of his village - women, in particular, are central characters of his paintings.

Jitish Kallat (45) is one of the young contemporary artists from the Hurun India Art List, 2020. He holds the tenth position in the Art List, the total realized value of his art being INR 2.57 Crores. From amongst his total eight artworks that were sold during the period covered under the research, the highest value realized was INR 0.71 Crores. His artworks include several art forms ranging from painting, photography, sculptural installations, and so on. They are known to represent the present as well as historical time frames.

The above table sheds light on the artists that have gained the maximum with respect to sale value of their artworks. Contemporary artist Atul Dodiya is the highest gainer, with a whooping 440% increase in his sale value of artworks. It is worth noticing, that Dodiya, along with Jitish Kallat, yet another contemporary artist, has also made it to the list of top 10 artists this year (refer Table 1), in the Hurun India Art List.

Geographic distribution of Auction Sales of Indian Artists

Only 26.58% of the total artwork (28.89 Crores) was sold at public auction in India. The highest value was sold at London-based auction houses, followed by the US and HK.

It is interesting to compare the key statistics based on the respective art lists of two of the most dynamic and fastest growing economies the world. Some key data below:

Contemporary artist Anish Kapoor claims the top spot in terms of best result or best value realized for an artwork sold during the year. Interestingly, the artists whose works created highest turnovers are also those with some of the best results.

Of the total 444 works of art sold, the lots sold by top 5 artists comprise 37% of the total art lots sold.

Where they live

While Kerala is the origin of the majority of the artists from the list, New Delhi is undeniably the most preferred city to pursue their careers. Following is Maharashtra, where Mumbai is the abode to all the individuals in the list from the state. Outside of India, most of the artists on Hurun India Art List 2020 chose

France and London as their place of residence. Europe is the most preferred continent to settle for most of the Indian artists from the list.

Women in the list

Some notable female artists made their way into the Hurun India Art List, 2020, and have found fame for their creative works both in India and abroad. The list features ten female artists whose works have grossed some of the highest sales figures at auctions around the world.

Art Forms

As per Hurun India Art List, Contemporary painters dominate the Indian art space this year as well. When it comes to the form of art, more than 50% of the artists in Hurun India Art List 2020 prefer painting. Rameshwar Broota, Krishen Khanna, and Raqib Shaw are some of the top painters as per this year sales made at public auctions. 30% have chosen multiple modes of expression which include painting, etching, sketching, sculpting, murals and installations.

When it comes to the style of art, contemporary dominates the list with 54% artists from Hurun India Art List 2020 using the art style. Contemporary art refers to art influenced by the happenings of the present day. Contemporary artists often reflect and comment on modern-day society. Viewers, instead of looking for the aesthetics, look for realistic depiction of the society. Anish Kapoor, Subodh Gupta, and Atul Dodiya are some of the leading contemporary artists on our list.

Modernist art is the art lying in a time-frame between the 1860s and 1970s which seeks a new alignment between the experiences and values of modern industrial life. Modernists in our list are Krishen Khanna and Arpita Singh.

Surrealism is the artistic and literary movement from the 1920s which sought to liberate thought, language, and human experience from oppressive boundaries of rationalism. The artists illustrate the unconscious characterized by bizarre, dream-like imagery and colour choices or techniques. Some top artists in our list depicting this art style are Rameshwar Broota, Raqib Shaw and Sakti Burman.

Abstract form of art is that which moves away from visual references and does not attempt to give an accurate depiction of reality. The artists simplify and schematize the objects in their works. Abstract art is often seen as carrying a moral dimension; In that it can be seen to stand for virtues such as order, purity, simplicity, and spirituality. Himmat Shah, Paresh Maity and Shobba Broota are some of the well-known abstract artists in our list.