Tyeb Mehta's Mahishasura to make $1.5m at Christie's first Mumbai auction?

Mahishasura by Tyeb Mehta (1925-2009) will headline Christie's inaugural auction in Mumbai on December 19 with an estimate of $1.1m-1.5m.

A seminal painting dating to 1994 that draws on Hindu mythology, Mahishasura is emblematic of Mehta's ability to combine contemporary and traditional styles.

Tyeb Mehta Mahishasura Christies
Mahishasura is drawn from the 5th century Hindu text Markandeya Purana

He was a member of the Bombay Progressive Artists Group, which formed in 1947 as a reaction to the more traditional Bengal School.  

His auction record was set in 2011 when an untitled painting realised $1.8m at Christie's New York.

The first Indian artist to generate sales of over $1m, he is widely regarded as a cultural hero in his homeland.

An untitled painting by Vasudeo S Gaitonde (1924-2001) is valued at $1m-1.3m.

Gaitonde untitled Christies
Gaitonde was present at the birth of conceptual art in New York

The work dates to 1979, 15 years after Gaitonde travelled to New York on the prestigious Rockefeller Fellowship.

There he studied the works of modernists like Mark Rothko and conceptual artists Sol LeWitt and Joseph Kusoth.

He became known as India's foremost abstract artist, and exhibited in a number of high profile museums around the world.

Earlier this year his Painting Number 1 realised £698,500 ($1.1m) at an auction of contemporary Indian and South Asian art in London.

His auction record stands at $1.3m, achieved at Christie's New York in 2006.

The auction is Christie's first in the region, and will make it the only international auction house conducting sales within India.

Steven P Murphy, chief executive officer of Christie's, said the auctions will allow "Indian collectors domestic access to works of art sourced by Christie's", in addition to "international collectors access to the very best of Indian art".

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Images: Christie's

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