Business Standard Monday

(18.10.2008 by Laurence)

European artists get an Indian airing

Q&A: Madan Assomull, Kishore Singh / New Delhi, October 18, 2008, 0:25 IST

The Marigold Group’s Madan Assomull tells Kishore Singh that contemporay European art is india’s latest luxury. Contemporary European art — who really? For our first show in Delhi, we’re bringing in Picasso’s lithographs, authenticated and with complete paperwork, as well as limited edition sculptures by Salvador Dali produced in runs of 350 by the Dali Foundation, as well as his lithographs. Other artists include Stephane Cipre, Mazel-Jalix, Arman, George Braque, Yves Cass, David Kracov and Jorg Doring.

At astronomical prices?
Hardly. We’re working on very low margins, and even with 32 per cent customs duty, the bulk of our prices are between Rs 7 lakh and Rs 20 lakh. The David Kracov pop art will retail between Rs 1.5-4.5 lakh, Doring will be a little more, Mazel-Jalix Rs 9 lakh, Arman Rs 10-15 lakh. Can you imagine telling people you own a Dali sculpture or lithograph — the sculptures will cost Rs 15-20 lakh, and the signed lithos will be Rs 4.5-6.5 lakh. Only a Stephane Cipre one-of-its kind, two-metre high Gandhi sculpture will be priced at Rs 45 lakh.

Why in Delhi, not Bombay?
Maharashtra has a 5 per cent tax that will make the artworks more expensive, which is why we’ve decided to launch the Marigold Fine Art gallery at The Claridges in New Delhi.

What’s your competition?
We aren’t comparing ourselves with Indian artists. We simply want to bring a nice mix of lithographs, canvas and sculpture for people of any age group who want art they’re familiar with and like.

What’s next?
In February-March, we’ll bring a show of 125 contemporary works to Delhi and Mumbai for exhibition only. If you want to buy them, they’ll need to be imported because the exhibition is not for sale in India. The interesting thing is that, through our dealings with Western galleries, we will be able to bring in any work into the country for our clients — even a Dali original!

In this crashing market?
Dali went up by 8 per cent in the last year. Are the stock markets up by 8 per cent? So you have the pleasure of owning great European artists as well as knowing that your investment is secure. And in case you don’t like a work, we’ll buy it back from you after a year.

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