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December 16, 2013

Christie's First Art Sale in India

By Sasha Levine | Art

Christie’s First Art Sale in India
Courtesy of Christie’s

Christie’s will host an inaugural art sale in India on December 19, becoming the only international auction house to do so in the country.

Christie's has a nearly 250-year history of promoting South Asian art—James Christie offered “four fine India pictures painted on glass” at auction in 1766—and the sale, held at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal Palace (Apollo Bunder; 91-22/6665-3366; tajhotels.com.), presents a curated survey of South Asian modern and cutting-edge contemporary artworks by the greatest artists of the last hundred years.

Highlights include works acquired from the estate of Mumbai-based gallerists and tastemakers Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy, who have supported emerging artists since the 1940s and are among the most central players in developing India’s modern art scene. Featured works include important paintings by abstract specialists Vasudeo S. Gaitonde and Ram Kumar and Indian modernist M.F. Husain.

Also of note are pieces by six of the nine artists whose compositions are defined as “National Art Treasures,” including canvases by Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil and relatives Rabindranath, Abanindranath and Gaganendranath Tagore. The works, which are exceptionally important to Indian national culture, are non-exportable and must remain in the country when sold.

“We wanted to trace a complete overview of the development of Indian art in the past 100 years,” says Sonal Singh, Christie’s specialist and head of sale, of the 83-lot collection, which is expected to fetch between roughly $6 million and $8.5 million. “We hope to give Indian art another international push.” christies.com.

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