The costliest artwork from the collection of fugitive diamaintaire Nirav Modi - a painting by Raja Ravi Varma - has been sold at an auction for Rs 14 crore in Mumbai. The painting was auctioned by the Income Tax Department, after a special court in Mumbai permitted them to put the paintings under the hammer. The deposits collected would be produced in court.
Nirav Modi was arrested by the Scotland Yard last week and was produced before a court in London, which had rejected his bail plea. He will remain in custody till March 29, 2019.
The colourful painting which was auctioned on Tuesday, depicts the welcoming party at Trivandrum, capital of Travancore (princely southern state) for the 3rd Duke of Buckingham, Richard Temple-Grenville and Chandos, Governor General of Madras (1875-1880). He is seen being received by Visakham Tirunal, the younger brother of the then Maharaja of Travancore and is accompanied by his aide-de-camp and British army officers. The Maharaja, Ayilayam Tirunal, stands behind him. The building behind them bears the conch shell, symbolic of the state of Travancore and a welcoming message for the Duke, as well.
The live auction included artworks of VS Gaitonde and Akbar Padamsee besides the works of Raja Ravi Varma. This particular painting by Varma, was expected to fetch between Rs 12-18 crore, quoted The Times of India.
Ravi Varma was born into an aristocratic family in Kerala and he was undoubtedly the most famous native Indian artist. Despite his noble background, he had carved his own path and was aided by the Maharaja, Ayilayam Tirunal, who was cultured and less conservative than his predecessors, as per the information on Saffron art website.
(Edited by: Nehal Solanki)