With buyers willing to spend, galleries set shop in Delhi

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Annie Samson

New Delhi, Jan 21 (PTI) As the third edition of theArt Summit begins here, Delhi is increasingly being feted asan art destination by various galleries and museums fromacross the world who are looking to set shop in the capital.

"The market for art in India is potentially huge andin the last 10 to 20 years the number of wealthy people inIndia who are buying art has increased," says a representativeof the UK-based Robert Bowmen Modern gallery which isexhibiting the largest collection of sculptures at the ArtSummit.

The most expensive sculpture they have brought to thefair is a Rs 62,000,000 Auguste Rodin sculpture titled"Eternal Spring."

"We have had two clients who have houses in the UKbut bought sculptures from our London gallery for their homesin Delhi. That prompted us to come to India and exhibit atthe art fair," he said.

The Kiran Nadar Musuem of Art (KNMA), a contemporaryart museum hosting the private art collection of Kiran Nadaropened a new exhibition space in a mall at the heart of thecity a couple of days ago. Also, leading online auction houseSaffronart that has physical gallery spaces in Mumbai and NewYork has also set up shop in a five star hotel here recently.

"Delhi which has a good collector base has beengrowing as an art market in the last few years. With growthfirmly back in the art market and with the Indian art marketwitnessing more momentum and growth as opposed to the world,we wanted to set up space in Delhi which along with Mumbai hasbeen very important centre for art," Nish Bhutani, COO,Saffronart told PTI.

The KNMA, that had opened at the HCL campus in Noidain early 2010 decided to open in a mall this year to ensuremore people engage with art.

The Delhi centre, spread over 36,000 sq feet of areawould put up for show famous works of India''s modern mastersand contemporaries including A Ramachandran, Anish Kapoor,Arpita Singh, F N Souza, Jamini Roy, M F Husain, Manjit Bawa,Ram Kumar, Subodh Gupta, Tyeb Mehta and V S Gaitonde amongothers.

"We want more people to engage with art and lookingfor different ways to do that. We are planning to do some verybig shows at our space in Delhi where we are expecting thewalk ins to be much more," says Kiran Nadar, director KNMA.

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Unlike the Saffronart galley space which will be utilised to hold previews of art and jewellery auctions aswell as exhibitions of select artistes and collaborative showswith other galleries, the KNMA will not be selling any workson display.

Owners of both the display spaces say they havedeliberately timed their opening to coincide with the ongoingart summit that is expected to attract a lot of visitors intothe capital.

The art summit which is almost double the size of itslast edition in 2009 features a spike from 17 to 34 of thenumber of participating international galleries.

Foreign galleries have brought in works by well-knowninternational artists like Picasso, Matisse, Andre Mason andSalvador Dali among others.

The India Art Summit, which organisers are hoping willbecome a permanent stop on the international art calender likethe ones in London and New York, also has delegatesparticipating from 19 museums worldwide including Tate, Louvreand Guggenheim and Chicago.

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