LONDON: Indian artists
never had it so good - an auction of modern and contemporary Indian
art here including those by masters like M F Husain, Francis Newton
Souza and Tyeb Mehta - has fetched a fabulous USD 8.809 million. The
auction was held by the Christie's on Monday evening and the highest
price of 720,000 pounds went for Syed Haider Raza's La Terre (1985). A
masterpiece of colour and composition, 85-year-old Raza seamlessly
merges his horizontal bands with elegant oblique in what is considered
one of the finest examples of painting in his oeuvre. Premier
abstractionist Vasudeo S Gaitonde's untitled piece crafted in 1968
fetched 490,000 pounds while Souza's Landscape with Planet, a superb
artwork (1962) went under the hammer for 311,200 pounds.
Husain's untitled masterpiece of 1960 was sold for 132,000 pounds.
Akbar Padamsee's untitled work of 1978 received the fourth highest
price of 204,000 pounds followed by 156,000 pounds for Jagdish
Swaminathan's artwork from the 'Bird, Tree and Mountain series' drawn
in 1985. Mehta's 1961 untitled artwork fetched 156,000 pounds while
Souza's 1960 masterpiece was sold for 132,000 pounds. A Landscape
drawn by Ram Kumar in 1995 went under the hammer for 114,000 pounds.
The auction hall was packed and buzzing with numerous private and
trade clients including many from India for the sale. The success of
this auction is a testament to Christie's understanding of the market
and the finely curated and great selectivity in the works offered for
sale. 92-year-old Husain graced the auction with his presence as he
watched his own works and works by his progressive contemporaries
Gaitonde, Tyeb Mehta achieve exceptional prices. Yamini Mehta,
director, Modern and Contemporary Indian Art, Christie's said "after
today's success, we look forward to Christie's Asian Contemporary Art
sale in Hong Kong on May 27 and the Modern and Contemporary Indian Art
sale in September in New York."