Raza sets record for Indian modern art in London

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A painting by leading Indian artist Syed Haider Raza sold for almost 2.4 million pounds in London on Thursday, setting a record for a modern Indian work, auction house Christie's said.

"Saurashtra", dated 1983, was estimated to fetch between 1.3 and 1.8 million pounds, but finally sold for 2,393,250 pounds (3,486,965 dollars, 2,893,439 euros) including buyers' premium.

The large-scale painting belonged to a key period in Raza's career when he began to integrate elements of his Indian childhood and cultural heritage into his paintings, Christie's said.

"The painting is one of (the) most ambitious works he has ever created as an homage to his homeland," Yamini Mehta, director of South Asian modern and contemporary art at Christie's in London, said before the auction.

"Its size, scale, and expressive brushstroke radiates the brilliant colours of India and has a deeply spiritual subtext," she said.

"In this one work, the artist has worked through all of the themes of his long and varied career and (it) serves as the shining example of one of the best works in this field to come to auction."

The work, which measures 200 centimetres (nearly 80 inches) square, was sold by a private French collector who acquired it directly from the artist.

© 2010 AFP

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