18 Aug 2016

Art News: New Art Gallery Opens in Bangalore

Iconic portrait of renowned singer MS Subbulakshmi painted by MF Husain to be displayed at ‘Art Bengaluru’ by Navrathan’s Art Gallery

MF Husain’s iconic portrait of MS Subbulakshmi, the world renowned singer and foremost proponent of Carnatic music, will be displayed by India’s newest art gallery, Navrathan’s of Bangalore. Navrathan jewellers have been a familiar destination for Bangaloreans since 1954. The sign of the iconic `nine jewels’ – the nine auspicious planetary gems – has lit up 18 MG road and attracted a stream of clients eager to acquire their signature gold jewellery. The man behind the legendary success of Navrathan jewellers is Mr. Gautam Chand Bafna, a connoisseur of arts, who has now extended his patronage to include fine and decorative arts; modern and contemporary Indian paintings, European paintings, antiques as well as interior décor, period-style furniture, porcelain, glass, silver and sculpture.

The painting of MS Subbulakshmi will be displayed in Bangalore thanks to the efforts of Mr. Gautam. As a sponsor of Bangalore’s premier annual art event – Art Bengaluru, which launches on 19th August at UB City, Navrathan will unveil and showcase Husain’s portrait of `M S’ as Subbulakshmi was affectionately known, as the centrepiece of their display.

Portrait of a Legend

MS Subbulakshmi painted by MF Husain at ‘Art Bengaluru 2016’ by Navrathan’s Art Gallery, Image courtesy Thomas Jose
Navrathan’s Art Gallery presents portrait of MS Subbulakshmi painted by MF Husain at ‘Art Bengaluru 2016’
The monumental portrait, 6 ft x 4 ft, an acrylic on canvas depicts the virtuoso singer holding her famous tambura. She wears a deep red sari, a conspicuous bindi, nose stud, ear rings and her hair is adorned with jasmine flowers. Husain has captioned the portrait “Subbulakshmi” in Tamil and has also signed it in Tamil. The portrait was painted by Husain in a flash of inspiration, the way he remembered her, when he heard the news of her passing. At the time, the artist had a major exhibition of his work, which he dedicated to the singer, in Chennai, where the portrait was originally unveiled. At the time Husain said that when he once heard her sing, for two minutes “It was so divine. I can never forget it in my life-time”. He heard of her passing on 11th December 2004 and painted the portrait in a day in Dubai. When he travelled to Chennai a few days later, he brought the painting and displayed it himself as the focal point of his exhibition at the Lakshana Museum of Arts.

The Queen of Music

Subbulakshmi’s music in films made her nationally famous. However, her devotional songs created even greater fame in India and internationally. Her voice interpreted the compositions of the three greats of Carnatic music, Thyagaraja, Muthuswamy Dikshiter and Shyam Sastri. Mahatma Gandhi was moved to tears when she sang his favourite bhajan Vaishnava Jana To Tene Kahiye Je Peer Parayee Jaane Re. When she sang at the United Nations Assembly, the New York Times wrote that Westerners could understand her message though it was delivered in a different language. She sang before Queen Elizabeth at London’s Royal Albert Hall. In 1954 Subbulakshmi received the Padma Bhushan and in 1969 received the title of Sangeetha Kalanidhi. She was the first woman to be honoured by the Madras Music Academy. In 1974 she received the Magsaysay Award and in 1975 she received the Padma Vibhushan. In 1990 she was awarded the Indira Gandhi Award for national integration. In 1998 she became the first musician to be honoured with the Bharat Ratna.

The United Nations has issued a stamp to mark Subbulakshmi’s birth centenary, coinciding with the celebration of India’s 70th Independence Day on 15th August 2016.

Navrathan’s is honoured and privileged to display this superb portrait of one of India’s greatest singers by one of India’s greatest artists.

Contact Michael Ludgrove, Navrathan’s Art Consultant on +91 99725 97430 and Chirag Chopra on +91 99006 85028 for all enquiries

Navrathan’s Art Gallery

Navrathan’s has taken up 35,000 square feet over three floors at 39 MG Road, perhaps the largest such
Mr. Gautam Chand Bafna with painting of MS Subbulakshmi by MF Husain displayed at ‘Art Bengaluru 2016’ by Navrathan’s Art Gallery, Image Thomas Jose
Mr. Gautam Chand Bafna 

space in India. The familiar logo of Navrathan’s, a lotus with nine variously coloured petals, following the colours of the nine jewels, can now be seen above an impressive heritage facade building.

The second floor of this paradise for the discerning interior décor enthusiasts, houses Mr. Gautam’s latest venture, an art gallery. A state-of-the-art picture hanging system has been installed in a 3,000 sq. ft. picture gallery dedicated to exhibitions of paintings, photography and other interesting genres. A series of exhibitions is planned and will commence in September, and will include Masters as well as newly discovered talents; Photography and other categories such as rare books, maps, jewellery design and watches will also be featured.

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9 Aug 2016

Interview: Albrecht Behmel - This is the Era of the Artist

In a discussion with Art Scene India, Albrecht Behmel, the well known German artist, novelist, historian and award-winning playwright shares his views on the art market, the future of art criticism and the relevance of marketing in the Internet age.
Albrecht Behmel in conversation with Art Scene India
NM: How would you briefly describe the art scene in Germany?

AB: There is a lot of talent around here. Great people like Christian Awe with a unique vision. I love to follow careers such as his from street art to major creator. There are great art-dealers and collectors here, like Jenny Falckenberg and Frieder Burda.
So that side of the scene is healthy and well. Galleries are in trouble as everywhere else with the internet taking their place more and more every year. Just imagine what Google did in the last years to make all the museums of this world accessible online using big data. I know that personal relations are what keeps a gallery alive but I am not sure most of the galleries are aware of how massive the pressure will become.

NM: What inspires you as an artist?

AB: Two things: nature and the movies. I am a huge fan of both. I live in the country with my wife, two kids, a brother in law and a mother in law. It is brilliant when an extended family can live together in harmony. Nature is near, there is a lot of wild life. that inspires me. And I love the movies, so I did a series of super heroes whose outlines I filled with silhouettes of other heroes, monsters, villains, victims etc. That is fun! I especially love the Marvel Series and a Star Wars series I created. I can totally lose myself in these paintings. On another level I am inspired by colors that make me happy, powerful deep red, massive yellow or turquoise and so on.
Batman by Albrecht Behmel, In conversation with Art Scene India

NM: What is your take on art critics? Do you think their relevance is waning or on the rise in the contemporary context?

AB: Well, If you mean professional art critics, I am not sure they have much of a future in the era of social media. Instagram, Pinterest are such powerful platforms for artists to create their own tribes that I am not sure how traditional criticism can survive without major adaptation. Yet I don’t really see this happening. I am convinced that in the future they will lose much of their power to “fanboy99” who comes out of nowhere but manages to entertain better because he understands how the internet really works. Long articles in newspapers are surely not the way of this century.

NM: How important is it for artists to remain current on trends and stay updated on global markets in general?

AB: It is 100% vital to understand the market if you depend on the market, i.e. if you want to sell. Funnily, having said that, prices are not the main thing here at all but marketing is. I always study the latest developments, I go to as many art fairs as I can manage, I read a lot and I follow auctions. That doesn’t mean I have to change my work or my style. It means that I try to understand what makes other artists remarkable. There is so much to learn.

NM: What would you advise upcoming artists?

AB: Feel good about charging the right price, don’t undersell, and know your numbers! That’s about the only advice I can give because as far as the art is concerned there is so much talent out there, so much passion and innovation! This is the era of the artist. It has never been so easy to become a creator as it is today. Everything a young artist needs today is totally in reach, all the knowledge, the exposure, the materials - most of which is free! But if you want to make a living, or better if you want to thrive: make sure you are not cheap but expensive.

Albrecht was born in 1971, studied arts and humanities in Heidelberg and Berlin, Germany and founded his own painting technique The Magic of the Swarms in 2012. This style is also called abstrahistic because it merges figurative shapes into abstract forms. A frequent and generous donor to international charities, Albrecht has recently supported Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, Al Madad Foundation London, Dolphin Aid, Rotary Clubs and university clinics in Germany. Albrecht co-authored international bestselling books like “The Successful Kid” as well as 20 other titles, novels, non-fiction, games, etc. He lives in the German Black Forest not far from France and travels a lot. 

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20 Jul 2016

Home Exteriors: Colour Palettes for a Distinctive Style

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.
- George A. Moore

Your home is a reflection of your artistic sensibilities, and can be a joyous expression, a celebratory carnival or a subtle feeling. Right from the architecture, the quality of construction to the colour palette, each feature contributes to the individuality of a home to create a distinctive style. I feel colours are much more than a necessity, and truly encapsulate the personality and vibrancy of the home and the residents. The right colour choices bring out the uniqueness of your home.
Home Exteriors: Colour Palettes for a Distinctive Style, Asian Paints Book of Exteriors, Art Scene India, Art Consultant
You may have noticed that it can often be challenging to decide on a specific colour for the exteriors of your home, and it can also be confusing to select colours, shades and hues which will have a visually pleasant impact when paired together. After all, not all of us have a sense of colour, texture and design, our strengths may lie elsewhere and that is perfectly fine too. One may wonder how a green trim would look on a lavender body…or is that too farfetched!

I found the Asian Paints Book of Exteriors very useful in offering a range of colour palettes – various colour combinations that are ready to be selected and applied in your home. Now, these colour palettes have been specially curated to keep a wide range of sensibilities in mind and can therefore be adopted easily in every Indian home. Thus essentially, irrespective of your architectural design, whether it is traditional, blending the quaintness of old world charm with contemporary comfort or one that is modern, appearing minimal with sleek contours, multiple colour palettes offer ready to select options making our lives simpler and easier.
Home Exteriors: Colour Palettes for a Distinctive Style, Asian Paints Book of Exteriors, Art Scene India, Art Consultant
The various colour combinations on different architectural designs give a sense of what would work, so you can assess, for instance, how a light coloured body can be accentuated with shades of blue and green such as Sapphire ice and Prairie Green, one of my favourite palettes from the book, and it has such an elegant impact! Similarly, you can choose other colour alternatives to voice your expression - exuberant, understated or poised. Incidentally, the names of the paint colours will surely delight you – they are delicious, divine and even passionate, sample this, Exotic Spice, Apricot Illusion, Sultry and so on!

We all know that inspired choices can make all the difference, so making the right colour selection for your home is important to accomplish exactly what your heart desires.
Home Exteriors: Colour Palettes for a Distinctive Style, Asian Paints Book of Exteriors, Art Scene India, Art Consultant
Before I forget, the book also offers insights into a range of products that are specialised to meet all your requirements in terms of aesthetics and functionality saving you time and effort in searching for the right products.

So go ahead and pick up a complimentary copy here and let me know if you find the book useful. What are your favourite colour palettes? Drop me an email or comment here.

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4 Jul 2016

Art Investment: The Fine Art of Collecting

This article was published in Tapasya, a publication by the Indira Institute of Management Pune

The Fine Art of Collecting

The last couple of decades have seen a tremendous surge in terms of awareness and interest in art. Suddenly names like Souza, Raza and Husain are familiar, not to just those within the art community but also outside it. Clearly, this change has not taken place overnight. The economic liberalization policies in the early nineties and the subsequent spurt in economic growth resulted in substantial amounts of disposable income that was accessible for splurging and also for financial investments. Simultaneously, the advent of global luxury brands in India introduced the middle and the upper middle class to luxury products, symbols of societal status and high living. For the first time one could purchase a wide range of aspirational products in India. This exposure to luxury brands and hi-end products was instrumental in creating and widening a buyer base that had a penchant for art, artefacts and collectibles.
Art Investment: The Fine Art of Collecting by Nalini Malaviya
This was also a period when many art galleries set up operations or expanded their businesses, thereby increasing their reach and creating multiple access points for art connoisseurs. In fact, this was a phase when art was positioned and promoted as a viable asset class that could generate large financial returns. Unfortunately, the subsequent crash in the market led to the economic downturn which also affected the art market immensely. It helped in dispelling the myth that all art could be a financial asset in the short term, or that there were parallels between investing in art and in stocks and shares, real estate or gold. In a way this led to correction of art prices and has eventually helped in stabilizing the art market to an extent. It has also shifted the focus back on art as a medium of creative expression, its aesthetics and its visual content rather than stay confined to names, price brackets and returns.

In this context, collecting art has caused some confusion especially for the first time buyer and collector. It Art Investment: The Fine Art of Collecting by Nalini Malaviyabecomes difficult for them to gauge and assess which art to buy, at what price points to enter the market, which artist to invest in and in general what to expect. Yet, art as an aspirational collectible continues to draw connoisseurs who have an eye for the finer things in life and can afford to indulge in luxurious living. Research and an avid interest in art can aid in developing a keen eye for art and also empower buyers on commercial aspects.

For instance, paintings by old masters or contemporary art in various media are coveted for the artist names which have become synonymous with high end brands; however, apart from artist names, thematic content, concept and execution are paramount in contemporary art. With increasing art awareness, a familiarity with artists’ names, local galleries and prominent auction houses is created which empowers the buyer when buying art. As art events, shows and auction reports are widely publicized in the media it helps in keeping abreast of upcoming artists, trends and sale figures. All of which can be valuable when buying art.

Collecting art

Building an art collection can be a rewarding experience, both aesthetically and as a viable investment option, albeit in the long term. It is important to be clear and identify the motives for collecting art, and a passion for the arts should be the driving force. A visual investment should take precedence over all other aspects.

One should also realize that significant collections are difficult to build overnight, but instead they tend to evolve organically over a period of time. In the initial stages, they are driven by the collector's tastes and preferences, however, later on they may get refined further due to conscious efforts. Sometimes, the choice of the collector is governed by considerations such as budget, available space, and time required for such an activity.

When selecting art, it helps to keep in mind if the collection is a private one or if it might be put on public display at a later date. One can buy representative art from various periods or focus on a specific school, style of painting, era or artist. It is also essential to realize that an art collection, unlike one comprising of smaller collectibles needs a larger space, and special care in terms of lighting and maintenance.

The process of buying art can be an exciting and rewarding one – visiting art shows, interacting with artists, critics and gallerists, reading and researching on art are activities which help immensely in selecting art for the collection. It is possible that there will be times, when one is forced to overlook personal tastes in favour of deliberate choices, which would benefit the entire collection as a whole.

When one is collecting art, irrespective of the initial investment, the overall value of the collection is likely to go up with time. Therefore, it is important to do the necessary research and take the time to build one that will be significant in terms of historical content and also its financial worth. When collecting art, it is essential to periodically review the artworks and see if some of them need to be sold off to either make space for new works or in order to build a more coherent compilation.

Art Investment: The Fine Art of Collecting by Nalini MalaviyaThe Indian art scene

The current art scene has much to offer to discerning collectors and buyers. The recently held India Art Fair, New Delhi has grown to be a significant event in the region and attracts a large number of international audiences as well. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale has also emerged as a major art event which showcases several exhibitions and organizes art and culture related programmes for its entire duration. A number of other art exhibitions and festivals that are organized in tier II cities ensure that local audiences are engaged and there is a buzz around art.

Art auction major Sotheby's will be opening its first office in the country in Mumbai in March this year. The auction house Christie's has seen its business grow at a faster clip in India since its first sales in December 2013, and its auction figures saw a sharp surge in 2015.

The contemporary art scene is clearly vibrant and should thrive further in the years to come. The online space is a fast evolving and attractive arena which is expected to see more players. Art ecommerce ventures are likely to grow and hopefully offer greater diversity and curated artworks to its buyers. There is a marked interest in Indian modern and contemporary art and an emerging attentiveness towards classical Indian art, which makes it an exciting phase for art connoisseurs.
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21 Jun 2016

Art News: Art Scene India Recommends

Art Scene India Recommends: 

Here's a round up of art exhibitions and events for you to visit - most of these are in Bangalore. Do visit them and let me know your views. Which ones resonated with you? Drop me a line here. I look forward to hearing from you.


June 21, 2016, Today
Inline image

June 26, 2016, Sunday

Galerie Sara Arakkal presents Yusuf Arakkal's "FACES OF CREATIVITY", an exhibition of 135 Indian artists portrait with a Book launch.
Inline image 2

Gallery Sumukha marks its 20th year since 1996 and celebrates with the opening of 'An Inner Retrospective'
Solo by K. Laxma Goud, with curatorial inputs from Marta Jakimowicz

‘The Limited Edition’ is an exhibition which pays homage to the art of printmaking. The exhibition consists of prints produced during a two week long printmaking workshop organized within the gallery space. The workshop brought together important pedagogies of Indian printmaking. Artists from Santiniketan, Baroda, Kheragarh, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore and Mysore were part of the atelier.



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