July - September  2008



 The current issue



 Muraqqa - Imperial
 Mughal Albums

 Gold Rush
 for Indian Art


 NR Narayana Murthy

 London's Top 3
 Indian Restaurants

 Mango Coolers

 Apa Sherpa - 18 times
 on Mt Everest

 Photo Essay
 South Asian Scots

 The Royal Bengal


 Jantar Mantar

 Saving Himalayan

 Buddhas of Ladakh

Real Life
 Punjabi Dawakhana

 The Open Road



 the print gallery

 the art gallery

 gurgaon property










   about us              back-issues           contact us         search             data bank


  craft shop

print gallery


The Gold Rush for Indian Art

By Arun Singh Rathore

Subodh Gupta's 'Bucket'

Contemporary India Art is on fire – fuelled largely by NRI (Non-Resident Indian) money. South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art Sale at Christie’s on 11 June 2008, realised £ 5.4 million – an all-time high for this genre. Francis Newton Souza’s 1955 work, ‘Birth’, fetched £1.27 million – a new world auction record for the artist and for any Indian Modern and Contemporary work of art. Known for his bold compositions, Souza is the only Indian artist to have a room dedicated to his works at Tate Britain. ‘Birth’ is a masterpiece by Francis Newton Souza, the founder of the Progressive Artists Group. This painting, composed in London during the mid-fifties, is his most important work to be auctioned. Property of a Private American Collection, it was submitted for the Guggenheim Painting Award in 1958. Souza, from Goa (India) died in 2002.

Tyeb Mehta’s 1984 Untitled (Figure on Rickshaw) was a close second at £ 982,000. The painting highlights the anonymity and isolation of the labourers – and Mehta’s own disillusionment with the world around him.

Both these paintings are museum quality masterpieces.

However, a name that appeared thrice in the list of Top 10 works at the Christie’s sale was none other than Subodh Gupta – whose works fetched close to £ 900,000 – collectively.

The top ten highest prices

- at Christie’s South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art Sale, 11 June 2008:

  • Francis Newton Souza - Birth 1955 - US$2,487,931
    Tyeb Mehta - Figure on a Rickshaw 1984 - US$1,918,926
    Subodh Gupta - Untitled 2007 - US$1,174,842
    Rameshwar Broota - Havaldar - III 1980 - US$658,986
    Subodh Gupta - Magic Wands 2002 - US$330,714
    T.V. Santhosh - Untitled 2005 - US$283,818
    Subodh Gupta - Bucket 2007 - US$236,922
    Ashim Purkayastha - Attached Wings 2004 - US$213,474
    Justin Ponmany - Staple Agony - II (Plastic Memory) 2006 - US$213,474
    Syed Haider Raza - Rajput House 1965-66 - US$190,026



Read the entire story in the July - September 2008  print edition of

The South Asian Life & Times

Annual subscription Rs 500 (India)

US $40 or GBP 20 (Elsewhere)

To subscribe, write to










Copyright © 2000 - 2008 []. Intellectual Property. All rights reserved.