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Henna Rakheja: A painting by pioneering artist Akbar Padamsee that was bought for about Rs 1,000 in 1960 has sold for Rs 19.19 crore, possibly
the biggest-ever jump in an Indian artwork’s price, experts said on Friday.
An anonymous bidder bought the 4.3 x 12 foot canvas painting — Greek Landscape – at an auction in Delhi on Thursday evening.
This was the highest price ever paid for a work by Padamsee, considered one of the country’s foremost contemporary painters, and a sign of increasing interest in Indian art, experts said.
Greek Landscape was bought in 1960 by 92-year-old artist Krishen Khanna for his personal collection.“To let the painting go was like parting with someone dear. But it is a huge work and requires maintenance. So I asked my son to let it go for auction,” said Khanna.
“Padamsee is a good friend…this is one of his best paintings.”
Padamsee used plastic emulsion and home painters’ brush to create the work since acrylic wasn’t available. “It was an experiment,” said Padamsee.
Indian artists appeared elated at the mounting price of art work from the country. “It is very optimistic for Indian art,” said artist Paresh Maity.
In a video interview to the auctioneer, Saffronart, Padamsee said, “I have never seen this painting for the last 60 years. I am 89. And I made this painting at about 22 or 23.”
Greek Landscape was estimated to go for Rs 7-9 crores but the winning bid surpassed the previous record for the artist set by his work, Reclining Nude, at Rs 9.3 crores, said Hugo Weihe, auctioneer and CEO of Saffronart. “It’s an extremely important masterpiece and the price only reflects its achievement.”