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The art of making money

December 31, 2007 13:24 IST

January 1, 2007: Resolution: This year I will make my fortune in art.

January 2, 2007: Or not – at least on the salary BS pays.

January 31, 2007: The Osian's auction estimates Jogen Chowdhury just below a half-crore. To think he'd illustrated some points in an interview and I tossed it into the dustbin with the notes. Idiot! Must remember to get the Shamshad Husain scribble framed, though he didn't sign it, the clever fox.

February 15, 2007: Have been dropping hints that a Thota Vaikuntam would be a good birthday gift, even told P about a group show where his works are hung. Maybe she'll bite if I swing the investment angle. Now that'll be a surprise!

February 20, 2007: I got a surprise all right – a party. But no gift.

February 21, 2007: Went to interview SH Raza before his show opened. He was cantankerous but drew in and signed a copy of the book to coincide with the exhibition. Maybe I'll be rich after all. Happy birthday!

March 8, 2007: Who would have thought resin + fibreglass = art? But it is, and Ravinder Reddy proved it when he sold a resin head for Rs 1.48 crore on an online auction. Wonder if I should consign the P Khemraj drawings (meant for a book that never got done) for auction. Wonder how much he's worth?

March 16, 2007: Satish Gupta's exhibition has a 12 ft head of Shiva that he's sold for Rs 1.5 crore. Phew! He signs a limited edition of his Rs 27,500 book for me. Double phew!

March 29, 2007: More fools, buying up Osian's movie posters and postcards for thousands, even lakhs of rupees. Just proves if you package it well, you can sell anything, even old books – and perhaps back-issues of Business Standard? I'm not selling raddi any more.

March 31, 2007: P sold the raddi anyway, despite my pleading it could be worth a fortune decades from now. We'll never be rich now!

April 13, 2007: Skipped the Triveda auction – who wouldn't after the last fiasco when the screen collapsed? But I was happy to see Gopi Gajwani in the catalogue. I have his drawings saved from an earlier office when he illustrated some articles. That was after a former boss' wife purloined all the Sanjay Bhattacharya drawings I'd commissioned (@Rs 200 each – weep!) before he became a BIG painter. Maybe I should do a plug piece on Gopi.

May 21, 2007: Bonhams is aligning Pakistan artists with Indian ones at its London auction, but no one is fooled and its Souza season (again) in a city that had once chucked him out. Souza banished himself to Paris the same way Husain has made Dubai his home after an arrest warrant was issued in India. Would have proposed it as a story but don't think the editor's art-friendly.

June 8, 2007: After Tyeb Mehta's Kali fetched Rs one crore at the Saffronart auction, got into a major argument with Dad about the importance of distortion in art. Why can't people understand pretty pictures don't = art, otherwise we'd all have adorable moppets on our walls. Ugh!

July 29, 2007: Ha, ha, ha, ha… can't stop laughing at Sharan Apparao's ingenuity. Her auction of southern artists couldn't furnish enough sellable artists so she's included MF Husain, Sunil Das, Krishen Khanna and others with the rider that they might have been influenced by the south. Ha, ha, ha.

September 6, 2007: A Kishor Shinde oil at the Saffronart auction has a reserve price of Rs 2-2.5 lakh. Can't help remembering the cheques for Rs 50,000 a Mumbai-based gallery used to regularly send me when it got our names/addresses mixed up. Wonder if I should have cashed them instead of sending them back.

November 15, 2007: The office team goes off to do a Foodie column for the Sunday paper with Jayasri Burman, and she gives them her fish recipe and also signed sketches for us. Does that constitute a violation of the company code? Perhaps I should check or maybe I won't.

December 14, 2007: The damn fool framer removed the signed panel from the Serbjeet Singh landscape I'd got re-framed. Must get it signed again. These days, without authentication, even an original is as good as a fake, as Nayanaa Kanodia has proved in her clever exhibition where she copies established artists.

December 31, 2007: If I can interest the editor in setting up an art fund, or at least building up the BS collection of art, maybe I'll get rich on the kickbacks. How's that for a resolution? Er, editor sahib.

Kishore Singh
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