What is special about the series?
Solanki did a series on Mumbai. He didn’t pick the major monuments, but focused on small buildings and cityscapes. Two of the paintings in the series were actually about structures close to where I once lived in Mumbai.
How did you find them?
I know Chitra Martin, who is deeply involved with the art scene in Mumbai. She curated an exhibition of paintings on Mumbai and got Solanki to do this series. I bought the two I liked the best in the collection.
What attracts you to Solanki’s style?
He does essentially black-and-white stuff, which is more like sketching. He does a lot of tribal/folk work, which is what he’s mostly known for. These were his first cityscapes. I chose them, not necessarily for their artistic value, but because they reminded me so much of Mumbai.
What is your opinion of the current Indian art scene?
It has really exploded. When I bought these paintings, it was not usual for an average individual to buy art. But now, almost everyone is buying art as investment. The prices are crazy—they are beyond the reach of ordinary folks.
Do you think the prices are unreasonably high?
I bought these paintings in 2002, and in those days, even prints at the Louvre and Guggenheim cost more than original paintings here. Indian art was quite undervalued then. I think artists are today getting what they are really worth.
Do you see any flaws in the Indian art market today?
Individuals sometimes buy an artist simply because an art gallery is promoting him/her with huge price tags. They tend to choose art purely as investment, and not because they particularly like the pieces.
Vrindavan Solanki’s pieces are available at saffronart.com and sell between Rs2 lakh and Rs 2.5 lakh.