South Asia

Indian painting sold for a record by London auctioneers

Saurashtra painting
Image caption The painting has been hailed for its expressive brush strokes

A painting by top Indian artist Syed Haider Raza has set a record for a modern Indian work, officials at Christie's auctioneers say.

Raza's painting Saurashtra sold for £2.4m ($3.5m) in London on Thursday.

Officials at Christie's told the BBC that the large-scale painting was produced during a key period of Raza's career.

He painted the work in 1983 as a "homage to his homeland".

Christie's say that the painting - an acrylic on canvas - was bought by an Indian museum for well above the estimated price.

It was sold by a private French collector who acquired it directly from the artist.

The painting was one of several pictures by South Asian artists - including Francis Newton Souza and Tyeb Mehta - that were sold for millions of pounds.

Saurashtra integrates elements of Raza's Indian childhood and cultural heritage into his paintings, Christie's said.

'Brilliant colours'

The 88-year-old artist has lived and worked in France since 1950, but maintains strong ties with India.

His works are mainly abstracts in oil or acrylic, with a rich use of colour and featuring Indian cosmology and philosophy.

He has won numerous awards and has regularly exhibited his paintings in Paris.

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

"Its size, scale, and expressive brush strokes radiate 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."

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