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Indian art on a high?

Check out five expensive works by Indian artists sold in international auctions. But as compared to their Western counterparts, are they really costly?

art and culture Updated: Jun 10, 2012 01:30 IST
Namya Sinha

The sale of artist Jehangir Sabavala’s artwork, titled, Vespers I, at Bonhams sale in London, has brought to light the growing popularity of Indian artists abroad. The artwork fetched £253,650 (Rs 2.1 crore) and has joined the ranks of some of the highest priced paintings by Indian artists. As we get you five expensive artworks by Indian artists sold at International auctions between 2010-2012, we also take a look at the fact that Indian artworks, when compared to works by Western artists, do not sell at really high prices.

“Indian artists are popular and they have always found investors. They have always done well, but when you compare the sales of their artworks with Western artists or even those from Japan, then you see that the prices are very low. These prices look big in the Indian context, but otherwise, they aren’t very high,” says art curator Alka Raghuvanshi. “Indian artworks are picking up, but there is still a very long way to go for them,” she adds.

Even sale prices of artworks by maestros such as FN Souza or M.F. Husain in auctions are big in Indian terms, but their sale, as compared to Western works, isn’t that good. “There are a variety of reasons for this. India is the flavour abroad, but the global nature and international reach matters in the sale of artworks. Who are your patrons and how popular you are globally, adds to the sale of the artworks,” says curator and author Alka Pande. “Art museums need to be developed and this will create more awareness globally and the sale scene of works by Indian artists will improve,” she says.

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