When will the Indian Hindus learn from American Hindus ?
Posted Friday , March 31, 2006 at 11:55
Updated Friday , March 31, 2006 at 12:25
New York: Indian art set a new record at Christies on Thursday, a day after two Indian works fetched over a million dollars each at rival Sotheby’s.
The auction of Modern and Contemporary Indian Art at Christies’ set a new record for this category, fetching $15.6 million.
Artist VS Gaitonde joined artists Tyeb Mehta and SH Raza who had crossed the esteemed million-dollar mark this season as an untitled work of his from 1975 sold for $1.47 million.
"I think with high quality works they demand higher prices. With Gaitonde, this is the first time a major work of his has come into an international auction. We should get used to seeing higher prices for master works," Specialist Head, Modern and Contemporary Indian Art, Christie’s, Yamini Mehta said.
But there was action beyond the auction. Outside Christie’s at Rockefeller Center, Hindu groups protested the sale of paintings by MF Husain, a day after a court in Meerut found the artist had hurt the sentiments of the Hindu community with some of his portrayals of Hindu deities.
Some protestors had driven to New York from as far as Toronto, Canada.
"Our purpose here is to ensure that these type of paintings do not go public, nobody should profit from it. It’s a total insult to the entire Hindu community wherever we live in the world," a protestor, Nirvan Balkissoon said.
At the auction, however, Husain’s works sold briskly, fetching a record auction price of $576,000 for the artist. However, Christie’s was not worried about the protests.
"I don’t think any of the work we had were at all controversial and I think he’s actually a fantastic artist. I think this will die down soon," Mehta said.
The protestors plan to continue an email campaign to prevent future sales of Husain’s works in the United States. They claim thousands of emails have already been sent to Christie’s and Sotheby’s.1