Christie's India debut auction nets $15m

Christie’s International Director, Asian Art, Hugo Weihe, left, acts as auctioneer for the painting of Indian artist Vasudeo S. Gaitonde during Christie"s first auction in India in Mumbai, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013. The top seller was a painting by Indian artist Vasudeo A Gaitonde which sold for $3.79m (£2.31m)

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London-based auction house Christie's has raised more than $15m (£9m) at its first-ever art sale in India, doubling its pre-sale expectations.

The top seller at the Mumbai sale was a painting by Indian artist Vasudeo A Gaitonde, which sold for $3.7m - a record for a modern Indian work.

The auction house sold a total of 83 art works covering the last 100 years of Indian art at Thursday's auction.

The sale was part of a Christie's strategy to attract Asian buyers.

Christie's debut sale in India featured paintings by such Indian masters as Tyeb Mehta, Maqbool Fida Husain, Ram Kumar, Jamini Roy and SH Raza, Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil and Nandalal Bose.

The top selling work was a mustard-hued oil on canvas painting by Gaitonde, India's leading abstract artist.

Tyeb Mehta's large canvas of Mahisasura - the mythical Hindu demon-king who was half human-half buffalo- was the the second-highest seller, going for $3.1m.

"This really is a dream come true and the result was beyond our wildest dreams," said Hugo Weihe, Christie's international director of Asian art, who conducted much of the auction.

"The market is discerning and understanding of quality and this is the proof."

Many of the works at the auction came from the collection of Kekoo Gandhy, one of the most significant figures in the development of the modern Indian art scene, and his wife Khorsheed Gandhy.

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