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Indian contemporary art fetches millions at Christie's auction

world Updated: Jun 12, 2013 18:06 IST
Christie's auction

Indian contemporary art set new records at a Christie's auction in London, fetching £4.7 million through the sale of paintings by celebrated artists like Vasudeo S Gaitonde, Tyeb Mehta and MF Husain.

The highlight of the South Asian and Contemporary Art sale at the auction house on Tuesday was a major untitled work by abstract artist Gaitonde which sold for £625,875, with all his paintings going under the hammer for over £1.2 million.

The collection had emerged on the auction circuit for the first time in 50 years and many of them have been acquired by a private art collector.

Some of them will now be seen next as part of a major retrospective on Gaitonde at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 2014.

The exhibition is also expected to travel to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi.

Another well-known contemporary Indian artist, Husain, was also a major highlight of the show with some of his horse series and landscapes fetching over half a million pounds.

However, a rare work by the artist, titled 'Ganga Jamuna' from the 'Mahabharata' series and estimated to fetch over £600,000, failed to meet the reserve price and remained unsold.

The Christie's sale coincided with Husain's birth centenary year and included 19 of the famous painter's works.

Nine of those went under the hammer for just under £1 million.

Among some of the other key works, Francis Newton Souza's 'Red Houses' was the toast of his selection, with all his seven paintings raising nearly £600,000.

Street scenes and Rajasthani paintings by Syed Haider Raza also attracted major buyers, selling for over £400,000.

Simple scenes capturing Indian life seemed to attract a lot of attention with a sketch by Mehta titled 'Head' selling for £18,750 and Subodh Gupta's 'Train Station' for £7,500.

The auction formed part of the Arts of India sale during London Indian Art Week at Christie's, which also included a large selection of fine classical paintings - from 17th century Mughal portraits to Rajput, Pahari and Company school paintings.