In 2002, Tyeb Mehta sold one his paintings at a Christie’s auction for 8 crore rupees. Back then, that was the highest sum ever paid for a painting by an Indian artist at an international auction.
It was considered a once in a lifetime event that was highly unlikely to be repeated. Fortunately, that prediction turned out to be wrong. Tyeb’s painting set in motion an unprecedented boom in the Indian art scene, bringing Indian artists the recognition they deserved in the international market.
Untitled by VS.Gaitonde, 1995
55.25 x 40.12 inches, Oil on Canvas
Sold for Rs 29,30,25,000
Artist Vasudeo S. Gaitonde is the pioneer of abstract art in India. However, he disagrees with the term “abstract”, choosing to call himself a “non-objective” painter, instead. Dilip Ranade, a fellow artist, said that Gaitonde “firmly believed in his canvases as the first, last, and ideally the only valid artistic statement.”
Birth by F N Souza, 1955
48 x 96 in, Oil on board
Sold for Rs 26,90,80,686
The Birth is considered to be one of the most prominent works of Goan artist Souza, who was deeply influenced by Christian themes like Crucifixion, the Last Supper, Good Friday, etc. At the same time, he also explored still life themes like child-birth, nude portraits and often sexology.
In an obituary they published, The Guardian called him “India’s first modern artist.” He was a supporter of individualism and celebrated dry humor and a healthy criticism of the establishment.
Mahishasura by Tyeb Mehta, 1994
59 x 47 inches, Acrylic on Canvas
Sold for Rs 19,78,25,000
The inspiration for this piece came to Mehta after his visit to Shantiniketan. The beauty of the art lives on its fusion of the ancient theme and the bold, straight strokes of modern art. A broken horizon in the background plays with the viewer’s perspective, draping the painting in a surreal feeling.
La Terre by S. H. Raza, 1973
74 x 74 inches, Acrylic on Canvas
Sold for Rs 18,61,91,325
Raza was a worshipper of the color black. For him, it represented the singularity from which the universe originated. Black is the absence of everything else, and hence it’s the purest of all colors.
His obsession with the color gave his paintings a dark, unearthly feel. In La Terre (The Earth), Raza is supposedly depicting one of his childhood dreams. The interplay of deep black and bright whites and reds are significant pointers of his theory of the gestation of darkness, and the life that results therefrom.
Art has always held a special place in the world, and these masterpieces go on to show why. Tell us which paintings and artists inspire you. We look forward to hearing from you.