When it opened its doors at The Claridges, New Delhi, last week, Marigold Fine Art Gallery became the first gallery in India dedicated exclusively to European contemporary and modern art. Its inaugural show included three signed lithographs by Pablo Picasso and three sculptures by Salvador Dali, along with paintings and sculptures by contemporary European artists such as Stéphane Cipre and Jörg Döring.
Gaurav Assomull, CEO, Marigold Fine Arts (MFA), says the fact that the Indian art buyer is ready to look beyond works by Indian artists became apparent after the success of Vadehra Art gallery’s Picasso exhibition in New Delhi in 2006.
Surreal: Profile of Time by Salvador Dali.
Admittedly, the economic scenario has altered vastly since they came up with a business model nine months ago but Assomull remains hopeful, pointing out the stability of European art pricing. “Picassos and Dalis increase (in value) annually at 6-8%,” he says. “They are not affected by the market’s ups and downs.”
The Picasso lithographs, signed and dated, are priced at an “affordable” Rs7-10 lakh and the Dali sculptures at Rs15-25 lakh. Some of the more contemporary names, such as Cipre, Armand Pierre Fernandez and Franck Tordjmann, have established themselves in the European market, says Assomull, and are also good buys at prices ranging from Rs5 lakh-Rs30 lakh.
“We have the first mover advantage in European art,” he says. “So far, we have purchased 30-35 pieces to exhibit and sell.” By February-March, MFA will increase its collection to 150 pieces for travelling shows in Delhi and Mumbai, with original artworks by Fernando Botero, Claude Monet and Georges Braque in addition to Picasso and Dali. Assomull hopes to target a clientele of 300-500 people in India. “It might take a little time to tap the Indian market but then European art is in a league of its own,” he says.