4 Million Dollars, Value of an Indian Painting

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4 Million Dollars, Value of an Indian Painting


Birth - By Souza

Francis Newton Souza was an Indian artist and the founder member of Progressive Artists’ Group, Bombay. He was known as the first post-independent artist that became very popular in west. His paintings are always in auction and was sold for huge numbers.

Now, the news is all about his painting ‘Birth’, which was painted in 1955 that has set the world record as the most expensive Indian painting auctioned so far. There is a fine arts auction house in Rockefeller Plaza in New York. That is called ‘Christy’s’. They’ve recently kept this monumental art piece for sale and it was sold for $4.01 Million, which is the highest price in Art auction history.

Interesting part is it was sold and bought buy Indians. This was earlier bought by Tina Ambani, for the price of $2.5 Million in 2008, through her very own Harmony Arts Foundation. Now it is picked up by a Delhi based art collector, Kiran Nadar probably to be displayed in her museum. Though Mrs. Anil Ambani owned it earlier, the painting was never bought to India. She loaned it to the Peabody Essex Museum in America. But now the painting is coming back to India and thanks to Kiran Nadar for it.

This painting was said to be one of Souza’s best Art works. Interestingly he has started scribbling on school toilet walls. He even took part in many movements during Independence struggle. He was a part of Quit India movement. Souza’s only belief was society’s destructive aspects shouldn’t be suppressed, they should be aired and confronted. That’s what gets emoted on his canvas through creativity.

Talking about ‘Birth’, “It’s a composition that has all the Souza characteristics – a nude woman, a priest that’s autobiographical, a still life on the ledge, and beyond the window, a landscape” Said Deepanjana Klein, international head of contemporary Indian art at Christy’s, NY.

The pregnant nude depicted in the painting ‘Birth’ is said to be his then partner Lisolette who bore him three children. Indian Art history has always been popular for the brilliant history representations and story narrations. This is one such piece and it has showed it’s worth yet again.

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