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16 June, 2008 - Published 12:28 GMT
Indian painting sold at record price
The auction house, Christie's, says the sale of a painting by the Indian artist, Francis Newton Souza, has set a record for an Indian work of art. Souza's 1955 painting, Birth, was sold for more than $2.5m. From our South Asia desk, Jason Caffrey reports:
A Christie's official said the sale of Francis Newton Souza's oil painting, Birth, had set a world auction record for the artist - and for any Indian modern art. Souza, who died in 2002, was born in Goa and lived in Britain and America. He painted his record-breaking picture in London in the mid-fifties. Christie's describe that time as the peak of Souza's career - and the auction house says that Birth is the best painting he produced in this period.
The picture was previously in a private collection in the United States. It shows a nude woman in labour, lying on her back with her eyes closed in concentration. Standing to her left is a man who bears a striking resemblance to the artist himself.
The Indian art critic, Madhu Jain, says Souza's work has always fetched high prices. She describes him as controversial and ahead of his time, and says he was one of India's most significant artists. Now Souza's portrayal of a woman about to give birth has become the most valuable modern painting by an Indian artist in the world.
Jason Caffrey, BBC
set a world auction record for the artist
bears a striking resemblance to
fetched high prices
ahead of his time
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