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Indian art fetches hefty prices at Christie's auction

Last updated on: May 22, 2007 12:00 IST

Indian artists never had it so good -- an auction of modern and contemporary Indian art in London, including those by masters like M F Husain, Francis Newton Souza and Tyeb Mehta -- has fetched fabulous prices.

The auction was held by 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 obliques 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 of 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."

H S Rao in London
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