Where and when did you acquire this painting?
This was one of the first serious paintings I bought. I saw this oil on canvas in a Chennai gallery 15 to 20 years ago. At that time, I couldn’t pay the entire amount at one go, so I paid for it in two instalments. It’s always been one of my favourites.
What about this work appealed to you?
It’s done in muted colours and shows the courtyard of a temple, while the deity is painted as a subtle shadow. It has a 3D effect—you almost feel like you’re walking through the courtyard.
Do you know anything about the artist?
Sengupta is originally from Kolkata, but I think he lives in Delhi now. I got to know him long after I had bought this painting; he had established himself as a senior artist by then. My mother, Alakananda Saha, owns a gallery and she introduced us. We have organized many exhibitions of his works and all of them have sold very well.
How much did you pay for this painting?
I paid Rs14,000 for the painting and it’s worth a lot more today
Where have you displayed it?
It used to be in the drawing room, but it’s now in the family room where we spend most of our time. I don’t worry about where to hang the painting—I have a collage of works, but always find the right place for each one.
Would you consider selling this work for the right price?
I’d never part with it. In fact, a German friend with one of the finest collections of Indian contemporary art has his eye on this painting. He had seen it in the Chennai gallery, but was unable to buy it then. He was stunned when he saw it in my house many years later.
Do you consider your art an investment?
All my art buying has been because I like the works. Some of the works I own are precious and I know their value will appreciate over time. I will pass them on to my daughter, like heirlooms. While it is important for serious collectors to acquire the right works, some are losing focus as to what good art is. I’m proud that Indian art is in the international arena now because of the boom in the art market, but I also feel that some young artists have reached their peak quite early and will now stagnate.
Amitabh Sengupta’s works are available at prices ranging from Rs70,000 to Rs1 lakh