Contemporary Art Market: Galleries in India profit from boom in interest

A BOOM in contemporary art is gripping India. According to Roshen Alkazi, director of Delhi's Art Heritage Gallery, there were two commercial art galleries in the Indian capital three years ago. Now there are 40.

Contemporary art galleries are opening in Delhi, Calcutta and Madras but the centre of the boom is Bombay, where new galleries are springing up almost every week.

Mrs Alkazi used to work with the Chemould Gallery of Bombay, run by Kekoo Gandhy, the long standing leader of the Indian contemporary scene. He is now working on a National Gallery of Modern Art for Bombay.

Red spots spattered the paintings on show last week at the two galleries that Mrs Alkazi runs in the Triveni Kala Sangam arts complex. She was giving a mini-retrospective to a well established landscapist, R N Pasricha, born in 1926 in Amritsar. He works in the Himalayas producing semi-abstracted mountain vistas in blazing colour.

His watercolours were priced between 6,000 and 12,000 rupees (pounds 120 to pounds 240), while similar vistas in oils and acrylic were priced at 21,450 rupees (pounds 429).

In her second gallery she was giving a young artist from Goa, Querozito de Souza, his first exhibition. He takes his inspiration solely from nature. However, there was no doubt that he had looked long and appreciatively at a variety of Surrealists. In his graphic work - drawings, pastels and lithographs priced between 1,350 and 3,750 rupees (pounds 27 to pounds 75) - he conveyed a vivid Surrealist vision of life on the Goan beaches. The oils, priced around 10,000 rupees (pounds 200), approached the same theme less successfully.

It seems a valid generalisation that contemporary Indian artists are better draughtsmen than painters. Given the current level of prices - which Mrs Alkazi claims have risen by 50 per cent a year for the last three years - there is a simple explanation. Paper and ink are much cheaper than canvas and oil paint; artists cannot afford extensive experiment in the latter medium.

The Sakshi Gallery, which opened in Bombay last month, offers a selection of the country's most fashionable contemporary artists in its first show.

Draughtsmanship was again to the fore; a brilliant study of a half-naked man on a bed and the head of a companion, titled Two Men, which was worked in ink and pastel, then lacquered, by Jogen Chowdhury, was priced at 50,000 rupees (pounds 1,000) while Girl with Cat, realised in oil with a simple linear outline and bright colours, by Manjit Bawa, cost 90,000 rupees (pounds 1,800).

The highest price recorded for the work of a living Indian painter is the one million rupees (pounds 20,000) paid at a charity auction three years ago for a work by M F Husain - India's equivalent to Picasso.

(Photograph omitted)

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Qualified Primary Teaching Assistant

£64 - £73 per day + Competitive rates based on experience : Randstad Education...

Primary KS2 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam