Tyeb Mehta

1925-2009

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Rating, estimate and price of the artist Mehta Tyeb

Price of a painting: €75,600 – €2,800,000

Estimate for a drawing: €7,000 – €113,000

Estimate for a print: €6,000-25,000

Price of a sculpture: 7,000 – 90,000 €.

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Mehta Tyeb, actor of the post-colonial PAG movement

The artist was born in 1925 in Kapadvanj, India. The Indian painter is a famous member of the PAG, “Progressive Artists Group” located in Mumbai and created by the artist Francis Newton Souza. He studied at the Sir J.J. school of art in Mumbai and graduated in 1952. He lived and worked in London from 1959 to 1964 and was awarded a John D. Rockefeller Third Fund Fellowship in 1968 during a stay in New York. The artists of the PAG group were strongly influenced by European artists. The work of Francis Bacon plays an important role in Mehta’s production, one of the most famous Indian painters of his generation. In addition to being a member of the PAG group, the artist was also part of the first generation of post-colonial Indian artists.

A work in perpetual evolution

After 1964 the artist visited New York, Tyeb’s work moved away from Bacon’s influence and took a minimalist turn. He made the three-minute short film Koodal, which won a Filmfare critics award in 1970.

He went on a residency in the Indian town of Santiniketan between 1984 and 1985, an experience that marked a turning point in his career. The subjects were bulls in trellises, rickshaw drivers, and then he went on to create the “Diagonal” series in the 1970s, the principle of which he discovered accidentally when, in a fit of rage linked to creative frustration, he flung a broad brush at his canvas. He continued with his falling figures in 1991, inspired by the violent death of a man he witnessed during the 1947 riots. He then added figures from Indian mythology to his work.

A cultural hero for Indian art and unprecedented sales prices

Mehta Tyeb held the record for the most expensive Indian painting, Celebration, which sold for US$350,000 at a Christe’s auction in 2002 and went on to fetch over US$2 million. He is the first contemporary Indian artist whose work has sold for more than a million dollars. He is becoming a cultural hero in India by having generated a growing interest in contemporary Indian art in the international market.

Tyeb died on 2 July 2009 in a Mumbai hospital following a heart attack.

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