Osian’s unveils Raja Ravi Varma’s costliest painting

July 14th, 2008 - 5:12 pm ICT by IANS  


New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) A painting by Raja Ravi Varma depicting a governor welcoming the Maharaja of Travancore in a royal setting - considered the 19th century artistes most expensive piece of art - was unveiled Monday at the ongoing 10th Osians’s-Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema. Neville Tuli, founder-chairman of the Osian’s Connoisseurs of Art, said he bought the painting for approximately Rs.60 million from privately-owned British auction house Bonhams at London.

“It was really not about Raja Ravi Varma or the price. It is about India’s relationship with our heritage that is outside our country. Today, India is ready to take responsibility for her heritage, but it will still take at least 10 more years to take forward the concept of bringing back our heritage,” Tuli said.

He went on to add that Osian’s acquisition of Raja Ravi Varma’s paintings is his most historical and expensive work ever and that he got full support from the government.

“I am happy that even the government is now supporting us to get back our heritage in the sense that we did not have to pay any duty to bring this work here. I understand that the government has many other priorities and they can’t simply do away with taxes on such items, but this is not just a piece of art.

“I would, in fact, say that the role of heritage is fundamentally changing in India. Osians’ responsibility is not to buy these paintings and put them in a room, we believe in sharing the heritage that we acquire,” he maintained.

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