New York Auction Sets Record for Indian Painting

A new record price for an Indian painting was set on September 17 at a Christie’s auction in New York when India’s most prolific collector, Kiran Nadar, bid $3.5 million ($4.01 million including buyer’s premium) for Birth, a monumental 8 feet by 4 feet oil on board by F.N. Souza, one of the country’s most famous artists, who died in 2002.
The previous record price of $2.59 million for a Souza work was set just last week at a Saffronart auction in Delhi, when his 5 feet by 4 feet Man and Woman Laughing went to the Delhi Art Gallery (DAG) for a hammer price of Rs14.6 crore – Rs16.84 crore ($2.59 million) including the premium.
India’s old modern masters have been taking it in turns to hit record India prices at auctions.
The Delhi Art Gallery has one of India’s largest gallery collections of modern art but has not entered auctions at the $2 million-plus level before
Apart from the record Souza, Christie’s New York auction had mixed results in the upper ranges. Three of the five works with the highest estimated prices failed to reach their minimum price, including two by old masters Raza (the cityscape above) and M.F.Husain (whose 100th birth anniversary yesterday was marked by Google India [Google.in] with the home page).
The sale totaled $8.77m including buyer’s premium and six of the 73 works on offer were not sold,

Extensive marketing is needed to match the works and buyers and, for the record prices, there needs to be a collector determined to acquire prestige works – as Tina Ambani was in 2008, and Kiran Nadar is today buying for her Delhi modern art museum.
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