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Delhi asked to save Tagore paintings

world Updated: May 18, 2010 01:01 IST

Sotheby’s said on Monday it is to sell a dozen rare paintings by Rabindranath Tagore, calling the collection “the most important group of works by Tagore ever to appear at auction” and triggering protests by UK-based Indians. Untitled (Portrait of a Woman)

The international auction house said it is putting the spectacular paintings under the hammer June 15 on behalf of Dartington Hall, a college in southern England with close historical ties to Tagore.

Sotheby’s set the pre-sale estimate at around £250,000. Untitled (Figure with Green Background)

Vaughan Lindsay, Chief Executive Officer of the Dartington Hall Trust, said proceeds from the sales will fund “an ambitious new programme of investment in our estate.” But a spokesman for the London-based Tagore Centre expressed outrage.

“I am very angry. I have called the High Commission because we want immediate action by the Indian government to ensure that these national treasures are returned to India. The idea that they may end up in some private hands is appalls me,” said Dr Kalyan Kundu, president of the Centre — Britain’s largest organisation promoting Tagore’s work, to HT. Leonard Elmhirst with Tagore