NEW YORK—Amid rising prices for modern and contemporary Indian art, a painting by Tyeb Mehta (b. 1925) soared past the million-dollar mark at Christie’s on Sept. 21—the first such Indian work to do so.
Estimated at $600,000/800,000, Mahisasura, a 1997 acrylic on canvas, earned $1.58 million and was bought by a private collector for nearly twice the high estimate. The artist’s previous record at auction was the $317,500 fetched at Christie’s in 2002 for his painting Celebration.
Mahisasura refers to the traditional Hindu tale of the warrior goddess Durga’s slaying of the buffalo demon Mahisha. Yamini Mehta, head specialist for modern and contemporary Indian art at Christie’s, hailed the result as “a milestone for the contemporary Indian art community.” The work was acquired by an Indian collector living in North America, Christie’s said. (A full report on Asian art sales will be published in the next issue of ARTnewsletter.)