Purple flowers on a bed of green leaves in acrylic and oil on canvas by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has been auctioned in New York for US $3000, her first painting to be sold abroad.
With a reserved price of USD 2500, five bids were made before the painting titled 'Flower Power' was sold at 3000 USD to Sundaram Tagore Gallery, a spokesperson of the US-based NGO Children's Hope India which auctioned the painting to raise funds for the welfare of underprivileged children in India, told PTI.
The auction was held at a gala event in New York City to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the NGO. Founded in 1992 by a group of Indian-American women professionals, Children's Hope India sponsors health, education and vocational programmes for thousands of children in India.
Among other items, a cricket bat with the signature of Team India members including M S Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar was auctioned for 15,000 USD.
Out of about 200 paintings made so far by the Trinamool Congress supremo, this was was the first time her work went abroad. She has held three exhibitions so far.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien, who was also present during the auction, said the NGO had requested the chief minister to contribute a painting. "Since it was for a good cause she readily agreed. She painted it two months ago at her office," said the party leader.
Another painting was sent to Israeli Ambassador Alon Ushpiz in Delhi last week. "He paid a courtesy visit on the CM and wanted to buy one of her paintings. Banerjee said she would gift it," said Derek, who had organised Banerjee's first sale-cum-exhibition in 2005.
Titled '25 Hours In A Day', the first lot was sold for Rs 4 lakh. The second exhibition in 2007 fetched Rs 14 lakh and the proceeds were donated to the victims of Nandigram violence. Ahead of the last year's Assembly elections, her collection of 95 paintings were sold out within three days for a staggering price of more than a Rs one crore. The proceeds were used for the party's poll expenses.
Derek said Banerjee's fourth exhibition with 50 paintings would be held in Kolkata early next year.