Two years ago, the Financial Express declared that Indian art prices were catching up
with global prices. The same year, Indian artist Tyeb Mehta's ‘Mahisasura’ sold for nearly $
1.6 million at a Christie’s auction. Since then, at least a half–dozen works by contemporary
Indian masters have sold for $1 million–plus. The jewel of the Bonhams Dubai sale in
March 2008 was ‘The Elder‘ by Indian modernist F.N. Souza at $380,000.
In the past two years, investors have started at least seven "art funds" in which a curator
buys and sells artworks instead of stocks. An example of supercharged returns – a 6’x 4’
oil painting by Ram Kumar sold for $32,000 in 2003 it will probably fetch $500,000 today – up by a staggering 1,462% !
Last year, TEHELKA constructed a high profile auction of Indian art, Art for Freedom with
canvases painted jointly by top–line Indian artists and eminent Indians and Britons. Each
canvas was a unique piece of great curiosity and value.
In extravagant fashion, the first art event by TEHELKA at Bonham’s on Bond Street in the
heart of London’s high fashion district was an unprecedented show.
At the art auction, Shah Rukh Khan came together with MF Husain to paint a canvas live
before an electrified - and record - audience. More than 1,500 people packed the auction
hall and the galleries leading up to it.
Bonhams was staggered by the response; the audience was in thrall of the spectacle unfolding
before them - Husain and Khan at work on an image of the mythic Anarkali and
Salim in earthy pastels as Bade Ghulam Ali Khan played in the background. A never-before
event, and it is unlikely Bonhams are going to play hosts to such an auction again.
This year, in this buoyant atmosphere of a confident emerging India, TEHELKA brings to London
an ambitious art exhibition and sale, again in support of independent media.