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Indian art goes for record price

A world auction record for a single artist, late Indian painter Francis Newton Souza, was set on Wednesday at London's auction house Christie’s.
By Vijay Dutt | Hindustan Times, London
UPDATED ON JUN 13, 2008 01:06 AM IST

A world auction record for a single artist, late Indian painter Francis Newton Souza, was set on Wednesday at London's auction house Christie’s. “Amongst the masterpieces offered, Souza's 'Birth' (1955) realised £1,273,250, setting a new world auction record for the artist and for any Indian Modern and Contemporary work of art,” said Hugo Weihe, Christie’s International Director of Asian Art and Yamini Mehta, head of Sale.

“The exceptional sale which realised £5,432,050, presented Christie's global clients with an inspiring array of works by over 50 of South Asia's leading modern and contemporary artists,” they said in a joint statement.

In all “12 artists’ records were set, reflecting the continuing strength and depth of demand for this important and vibrant category.”

Christies said they were pleased that the works from the Harmony Art Foundation in association with Barclays Wealth were well received, setting three world auction records, led by Navjot Altaf's 'December 15th’, which realised £22,500.

“Christie’s are proud to have been part of this collaboration which will contribute to the Foundation's continued support of emerging artists going forward,” they said.

Wednesday’s sale drew Christie's Asian art sales for the first half of 2008 to an exciting conclusion, realising an overall total for New York, Hong Kong and London of £13,198,396 ($25,825,146) — the highest ever total achieved for one season in South Asian Modern Contemporary Art.

The auctioneers said they were now looking forward to offering Syed Haider Raza's key work ‘La Terre’ at Christie's London Post War and Contemporary Art Evening sale on June 30.

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