It has been a lucky few months for Saffronart founder Dinesh Vazirani. First, Harvard Business School, Vazirani’s alma mater, offered up the online auction house as one of the legendary case studies given to its MBA students. “I remember when I was there, there was only one Indian company in more than a thousand case studies,” he says. Then, Saffronart’s March art sale netted more than Rs27 crore, setting the record for the most successful auction of contemporary Indian artists. With sales of roughly $40 million (around Rs163 crore then) last year, and the summer auction held on Friday, we asked Vazirani which artists he would collect if he had an unlimited budget:
Vasily Kandinsky: To me, he was a pioneer painter, the first modern abstractionist. He had deep-rooted information on theory. One of the revolutionaries in European art in the first half of the 20th century, he changed the way art was produced. He is also one of my wife’s favourites. Our first house had five posters of Kandinsky.
Francis Bacon:He is a contemporary artist, known for his bold work and bold lifestyle, which mirrored each other. He had no reservations painting subjects that were grotesque. He had no fear, producing what was in his thoughts.
Joan Miro:The Spanish surrealist painter was also a sculptor, and worked with ceramics. He broke away from conventional methods and subjects. His creations, from what I remember, were based on his visions and dreams. He used lots of symbols to portray what he thought.
Vincent Van Gogh:His life was interesting; his friendship with Gauguin, cutting off his ear, dying before he was realized as a master painter. He influenced a century of art movements. From him came German Expressionism, Fauvism, Modern Art. He was a pioneer, his colour and texture recognizable the world over. His influence on me came when I was saw his big retrospective in Amsterdam when I was a student.
Gustav Klimt: I find his imagery captivating. I still remember ‘The Kiss’. It is always implanted in my mind and I would love to own it. The way his forms are made, incremental patches on canvas making one form, is beautiful.