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Husain's painting tops Singapore auction

MF Husain's stunning image of Mother Teresa marked the highest bid of Sing $322,600 at the Larasati art auction held in Singapore.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 13:47 IST

The highest taking at the 'Larasati - Pictures of Asia' fine art auction in Singapore was for a stunning image of Mother Teresa by renowned Indian painter Maqbool Fida Husain.

Estimated at US $184,050 - 214,725, the work ultimately pulled in Singapore $322,600 and was the showstopper for the day.

Over 70 percent of the 131 lots offered found buyers at the auction held at the Marriott Hotel, Singapore. The auction saw active bidding with a packed attendance of around 300 people.

Husain's son Owais' work, The Sharpshooter's Past Catches Up estimated at US $16,564 - 19,632 went down for Singapore $30,420.

Rini Dhumal's Durga went for a paltry Singapore $11,700 while Ara's Gate, a work from 1950 estimated at US $16,565 - 19,632 went for Singapore $32,760.

In a strange development, the works of Bose Krishnamachari, Jogen Chowdhury, Iranna and Yusuf Arakkal did not feature in the final list of lots sold.

The lots were withdrawn because the bids were woefully below the estimates. It clearly shows some Indian artists draw better prices at home than abroad.

Daniel Komala, president director, Larasati Auctioneers said, "Collectors are very selective these days and we had a very serious crowd. They bid very intensely for top-notch lots and young promising artists."

"With the addition of contemporary Indian art that was taking the stage for the first time ever in Singapore, we now have a very good cross section of Asian modern and contemporary collection," he said.

Ever since Larasati's first auction, which was held on April 30, 2000, in Jakarta, Larasati's reputation has grown rapidly, auctioning rare and emerging Indonesian as well as other Asian works at record prices.

Larasati's entry into Singapore in 2003 as the first Asian-based auction house that crossed national borders was indeed a milestone in its pursuit to becoming a major player in the Asian market.

With Larasati's boutique collection featuring fine works by master artists from Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines, Larasati has made a conscious effort to feature significant works of art, treating them as a kind of museum art.

"We at Larasati would like our auctions not to become merely a matter of buying and selling art objects, but also to enhance the appreciation and development of art in Asia," Komala said.