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Art market shows signs of revival

Private collectors from India and abroad flew in on private jets for the Thursday preview
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First Published: Fri, Feb 01 2013. 11 37 PM IST
On Friday, the first day of the fair, some galleries said they had made sales ranging from a few lakhs of rupees to `10 crore. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
On Friday, the first day of the fair, some galleries said they had made sales ranging from a few lakhs of rupees to Rs.10 crore. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
Updated: Mon, Feb 04 2013. 02 30 PM IST
New Delhi: Indian and international collectors have gathered in strength in New Delhi for the fifth edition of the India Art Fair, with sold-out signs indicating a revival of interest in the market after a gap of two years.
At a private preview on Thursday, a clutch of galleries said their offerings had already been bought. On Friday, the first day of the fair, some galleries said they had made sales ranging from a few lakhs of rupees to Rs.10 crore.
“This year has been better than last four years put together,” said Neha Kirpal, a founder and director of the Indian Art Fair.
About 100 exhibitors are taking part in the art fair. Private collectors from India and abroad flew in on private jets for the Thursday preview.
The works of Subodh Gupta, famous for his metal installations and sculptures, were sold at the preview. Simultaneously, Indian collectors bought the works of some of the biggest names in the international art market such as Russian artist Marc Chagall and French-American artist and sculptor Louise Bourgeois.
“The quality of art, the quality of participation and most importantly the quality of collectors has been great this time,” said Kirpal, calling it a major booster shot, and an unexpected one, for the Indian art market.
Kishore Singh, curator at the Delhi Art Gallery, which has put up a host of modern Indian art works at the fair, seconded Kirpal, noting however that the run-up had been devoid of the buzz that had characterized previous fairs.
“The previous two editions were quite hyped,” he said “Strangely enough this time, since it’s been quieter, we’ve been astounded by the kind of response we are getting.”
With auction houses such as Christie’s bringing in over 30 collectors from around the world, the Art Fair has witnessed a surge in demand.
“Purchase decisions are being made faster this time around,” said Roshini Vadehra, a director at Vadehra Art Gallery.
A London-based contemporary art gallery, Paul Stolper, is particpiating for the first time in the India Art Fair. The gallery that showcased works by English artist Damien Hirst, among others, sold a few works to private collectors, said spokesperson for the gallery, Alexander Sterling.
Demand for contemporary Indian art fell in 2011-2012 as the local economy slowed and the US and Europe struggled. “The Indian art market had hit rock bottom,” said Singh of Delhi Art Gallery.
“Thigs are expected to improve,” said Dinesh Vazirani of auction house Saffronart, who expects the latent demand in the market to pick up in 2013, both for contemporary and modern Indian art.
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First Published: Fri, Feb 01 2013. 11 37 PM IST
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