F.N. Souza’s painting, Birth, has become the most expensive Indian painting to be sold in an auction, after fetching $4.08 million. This Goa-born artist’s work has recently gained recognition and appreciation, and has witnessed an increase in value.
Francis Newton Souza, an Indian who initially struggled to make an impact in the field of art, has now become the country’s most expensive artist.
This Goa-born artist’s iconic painting “Birth” has become the most expensive Indian painting to be sold in an auction. The painting fetched $4.08 million at Christie’s auction in New York on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015.
Delhi-based prominent art collector Kiran Nadar, bid $3.5 million ($4.08 million including buyer’s premium, i.e Rs. 26.41 crore) for Birth, a monumental 8ft x 4ft oil painting.
The same painting was earlier bought at a Christie’s London auction for $2.5 million in June 2008 by Tina Ambani, wife of prominent industrialist Anil Ambani, for the Harmony Arts Foundation run by her. Souza created Birth in 1955 and it is considered one of his best works.
The pregnant nude in the painting is said to be his then partner, Lisolette, who gave birth to three of his children.
The value of Souza’s work has been constantly increasing after his death in 2002. However, when he was alive, his painting exhibitions went half sold and were not very successful. His work took off after the publication of his autobiographical essay Nirvana of a Maggot, published in Stephen Spender’s Encounter magazine in 1955.
Another painting by Souza, ‘Man and Woman Laughing’ (1957) was sold for $2.59 (Rs. 16.84 crore).