NEW DELHI: Another Indian modernist has entered the million dollar club. An iconic black and white nude by 82-year-old Akbar Padamsee notched up $1,426,500 (Rs 6.3 crore) at a Sotheby’s sale in New York on Friday, setting a new auction record for the artist.
The untitled work — a reclining nude — was painted in 1960, at a time when Padamsee produced few paintings and only worked in shades of grey. “The price is well-deserved as this is one of the most significant works of modern Indian art to have come on the market,” said Priyanka Mathew, the Indian art specialist at Sotheby’s. The record has turned the spotlight on the Mumbai-based artist whose prices have been steadily rising in the auction market. – TOI.
Akbar Padamsee was born in Mumbai in 1928. His ancestors hailed from Vāghnagar, a village in the Bhavnagar district of the erstwhile Kathiawar, now part of Gujarat state. Padamsee was still a student at the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai at the time when the Progressive Artists’ Group (PAG) announced itself on the Indian art scene in 1947. Historically, this is considered to be one of the most influential groups of modern artists to emerge in early post-independent India. After his art education in Mumbai, Padamsee went to live and work in France in the year 1951. In 1952, he was awarded a prize by Andre Breton, known as the pope of surrealism, on behalf of the Journale d’art. His very first solo show was in Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai in 1954, where these early works were shown.
In 1959, after an eight year stay in Paris, Akbar Padamsee returned to India. His decision to become an artist instead of joining his flourishing family business had caused great consternation among his community. Akbar’s future however, had been settled by the Aga Khan, the religious head of the Khoja community to which Akbar and his family belonged. The Aga Khan, a great patron of the arts himself, not only encouraged him to become an artist, but also encouraged him to travel Paris for further studies.
Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art – New York | 25 Mar 2011, 10:00 AM | N08728 – Page 22