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Most expensive Indian artists
Kishore Singh in New Delhi | December 29, 2007
Most bankable artists
Tyeb Mehta: No one has been able to touch Tyeb Mehta - not even Mehta himself - after his Mahisasura fetched a record $1,584,000 at an auction last year.
The almost-blind, Mumbai-based painter, one of the founder members of the Progressives, belongs to that rare breed of artists who destroys those canvases he is not satisfied with. So don't expect a solo Tyeb show any time soon - though a retrospective is in order. Are gallerists listening?
Amrita Sher Gill: She's a national treasure both literally and metaphorically, and while many prefer Vivan Sundaram's photo studies of the artist, the lady who is touted as India's first modern artist has a record price of $1,554,019.
F N Souza: Everyone's favourite, and still the flavor of the year (something he's sustained for the last five years), it is his prolific repertoire that seems to keep most auction houses in India and abroad going with the big bucks.
But the contemporaries are in the same neighbourhood...
They have been around for a while (so they're not new) but this year you could expect them to overshadow the masters - Atul Dodiya, Subodh Gupta, Chintan Upadhyay, Ravinder Reddy, Baiju Parthan - and at least two names that seem to be unfamiliar to non-art lovers: N S Harsha and Herman Linde. You'll hear more about them in 2008 and, some suspect, more even than the masters.
Galleries you should frequent more
It's just a coincidence that most are in Delhi, but though we have such old-time favourites as Vadehra and Kumar, Cymroza and Sakshi, the fact is that the cutting edge world of contemporary art belongs to a more rarefied world best represented by the following five:
Talwar: New York's Talwar Art Gallery had a low-profile opening in the capital, possibly because it didn't want to draw attention to its residential location when the city was in the grip of houses and commercial buildings being sealed.
Gallerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke: The Mumbai equivalent of Talwar is just as edgy and is spearheading emerging art that is sassy. Expect it to give Mumbaikars some of their most rewarding moments, especially since it is housed in a heritage building with all its architectural details intact.
Gallery Espace: Nature Morte would ideally have made this slot, but its is-it-open-or-not speculation adds to its mystique rather than its shows (which are great).
Renu Modi steps in where Peter Nagy gets off through her no-nonsense understanding and handling of art and artists. If she thought any bigger, she would be a force to reckon with.