Indian artist has brush with his fakes: report

Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:49am EST
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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Acclaimed Indian artist SH Raza inaugurated a show of his paintings in New Delhi at the weekend -- only to find most of the exhibits were fakes, the Mail Today paper said.

Paris-based Raza had contributed some drawings to the show at a well-known gallery that had put together more than 30 of his early paintings, the artist wrote in the newspaper.

"When I reached the gallery and started looking at the canvases on the walls, I was stunned," Raza wrote. "As I moved from one canvas to the other, I realized that the works were just not mine, they were all fakes."

Raza, regarded as one of India's foremost artists, is best known for his abstracts and brilliant colors.

His works have commanded high prices internationally, with a painting going for about 1.3 million pounds ($1.9 million) at a Christie's auction in London last year.

"I was stupefied and stunned ... I will turn 86 next month. At this stage of my life, this was the last thing I wanted to do -- grace an exhibition of my own fake paintings," Raza wrote.

The gallery, which closed the show shortly afterwards, said it had been duped.

Indian art has boomed in the past five years, driven by fast-paced economic growth that encouraged the newly-rich to chase after symbols of affluence.

(Writing by Rina Chandran; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Alex Richardson)