India becoming market for high end European art

New Delhi, April 30: Rising disposable incomes, exposure to unique art forms and greater social interaction are opening urban Indian homes to niche British interior accessory art like Amanda Brisbane sculptures, Wedgewood cutlery and Moorcroft objects’d art.

As Europe sinks deeper into recession, high end lifestyle art brands from across the continent are looking at India as a wide market to sell their products at cheaper prices in a “reverse trend” of pre-independence Indian economy, when Indian goods were sold for a pittance in Europe, says a leading UK-based home arts promoter of Indian origin.

“The Indian economy is growing and so are people’s choices. Indians have become adventurous. We have been exporting haute objects’ d art from England, and they think that India is a big high-end market for art,” Sunil Sethi, one of UK’s leading Indian collectors of designer objects’ d arts and sculptures, told IANS.

He said, “Exporting niche art objects from Europe is easy now because the manufacturers and artists do not impose conditions on sale in developing countries abroad because of the economic slowdown, as was earlier.”

“European buyers are not in a position to buy high end art any more and the countries have to find emerging markets. Indian economy is still strong. It is a reverse trend,” he said.

Sethi, the founder of Interarts, promotes high end accessory art brands like Wedgewood, Royal Doulton, Moorcroft, Arthur Price, Poole Pottery from UK, Costaboda from Scandinavia, Svaja from Eastern Europe, Versace sculptures, Armani from Italy, Rosenthal from Germany, Lladro from Spain, Felix Valez bronze sculptures, Cyan Glass and Franz porcelain from Spain.

An Interarts showcase of home accessory art in the capital this weekend (April 27-28) at the Bikaner House in the capital displayed more than 100 limited edition objects’d art from Europe and the US – featuring the best of contemporary crystal, porcelain, bronze and glass sculptures and cutlery.

The prices range between Rs.2,500 and Rs.14 lakh.

A section dedicated to coloured glass sculptures by Amanda Brisbane, Will Shakespeare and Richard Golding – a few of Britain’s best glass artists – was the centre of attraction.

Brisbane sculpts large forms from nature in single sheets of expensive shaded glass while Shakespeare crafts futuristic shape in crystalline fired glass. Golding, the founder of Okra Glass, fuses metal with glass.

The three, along with hot glass artist Ian MacDonald, cameo glass artist Helen Millard, glass revivalist Andrew Potter, glass designer Rebecca Morgan, the Isle of Wight Glass Studio and veterans like Simon Moore, represent UK’s new face of glass art, a tradition which dates back to the country’s ties with glass capitals Venice and Murano in Italy in the early medieval era.

However, historians say glass as a medium of crafting was used as early as 1500 BC.

“I started collecting in 1992. The first piece of glass that I bought was from Okra Glass. Over the years, my collection has grown and I befriended the artists , glass studios and large glassware chains to set up a export platform,” Sethi said. Sethi with wife Purnima set up Interarts four years ago.

He has exhibited and sold British accessory art in Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Indore, Jaipur, Ludhiana and Chandigarh.

When not in India, Interarts conducts business with Indian buyers on the Internet, he said.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at madhu.c@ians.in)

IANS