AFTER artiste Durga Kainthola alleged that a VS Gaitonde work was missing from Christie’s, the auction house has responded, saying the painting was still with them.
“The Gaitonde work is not missing. We have been taking care of it for the past four years and we’re paying for its insurance too. We have not been able to return the work because it is under a title dispute,” said Deepanjana Klein, International Head of Department, South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art, Christie’s. She said, “We cannot return the work until the two parties disputing over it inform us where they want us to deliver it.”
According to Delhi-based Kainthola’s complaint, Christie’s had taken possession of the painting, an abstract oil on canvas, in 2011, for sale at an auction in New York. She has alleged that the auction house wanted to “grab” the painting and had it moved from New York to London without taking her consent.
Gaitonde, who was an influential member of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group, was one of India’s foremost abstract painters. His works regularly fetch astronomical sums at auctions. One of his untitled oil-on-canvas abstract landscapes set the world record for modern Indian art when it fetched Rs 23.7 crore at Christie’s first auction in India in 2013.