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Osian feat for Tyeb Mehta's artwork

Falling Figure, a 1968 oil painting by the Indian artist, went under the hammer at New Delhi's Osian's ABC Series of Auctions.

india Updated: Jul 22, 2006 14:25 IST

Falling Figure, a 1968 oil painting by celebrated Indian artist Tyeb Mehta went down the hammer for Rs 30 million ($643,000/Rs3 crores) at the Osian's ABC Series of Auctions here.

Mehta, Vasudev Gaitonde, MF Husain and Amrita Shergill were the four contemporary artists whose works sold for more than Rs 10 million at the auction Thursday night here.

The other painter, whose works generated an equal amount of attention at the auction Thursday night, was Mumbai-based abstractionist VS Gaitonde whose work was picked for Rs 24 million.                                                             

MF Hussain's untitled creation fetched him Rs.13 million whereas Amrita Shergill's Red Hut got the organisers Rs.12 million.

Satish Gujral's Couple 1 went for a terribly disappointing low of Rs.2.6 million.

Looking at auction trends experts, who are

            Falling Figure

collectors, as well as gallery people said that at first the Indian diaspora drove demand, but now growing wealth in India itself is fuelling the market.

"But a lot of buyers are now getting more discerning," said a young Indian banker who has set his sights on Indian art but wished to remain anonymous.

"In the mid-1990s, most buyers were scions of India's industrial dynasties, who favoured the realistic, conservative artists of the Bengal School," he said, adding "today the Bengal School was terribly low, no momentum at all, even Jogen Choudhury was so low, and some works withdrawn because of the low estimate that found no takers."

The auction saw a large attendance of art lovers and buyers - not just from India but from abroad. A family had specially flown in from Dubai to take part in the auction.

On being queried about comparisons with Christie's auction, Osian founder and chairman Neville Tuli said: "Christie's is 200 years old. Osian is just five. The process has just started and it's going forward. The Indian art and culture is moving forward and that is more important."

Indian art has seen a steady price rise in the past few years following masterworks by the likes of Mehta, Hussain and Gaitonde getting noticed at international auctions.