In the 1960s, Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, a young couple with a modest income (he was a postal clerk, she a librarian), living in New York City, decided to start collecting art. Not being able to afford the abstract expressionists or pop art—the rage at the time—they stuck to minimal art by young artists in the range of $50-100 (around Rs 2,500-5,000 now). They bought paintings in instalments and soon amassed what is today one of the most important contemporary art collections in the US.
The story of Herb and Dorothy (through a documentary by Megumi Sasaki) will open a panel discussion at the India Art Fair today: “You Don’t Have to Be a Millionaire to Collect Art”, moderated by Maithili Parekh, director, Sotheby’s. The documentary will be followed by a conversation with Sonal Sood and Parmesh Shahani, young collectors who follow the Vogels’ model for collecting art. “Collecting art is not beyond anybody’s ability. Both Parmesh and Sonal are in their 30s and have built their collections without spending millions,”says Parekh. Shahani buys range from a few thousand rupees to a lakh.
An exhibition at the India Art Fair
“Much before I started acquiring art, I had been engaging with it, a process which started as early as my school days on my daily walks with my grandfather... and trips to galleries,” he says. It’s a habit that soon transforms into a skill. “Just keep looking and let your instinct rule,” adds Parekh.
“You Don’t Have to Be a Millionaire to Collect Art” is one of the 13 panel discussions at the fair’s Speakers’ Forum.