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Discovery of India

She is flushed by the hot Delhi sun but this is not Zara Porter Hill’s first trip to India. “I have been here many times...

She is flushed by the hot Delhi sun but this is not Zara Porter Hill’s first trip to India. “I have been here many times,including a trip for the opening of the new wings at National Gallery of Modern Art. I would,however,love to do a holiday trip,” smiles Porter Hill,head of the Indian and Southeast Asian Department of Sotheby’s,as she does the rounds of stalls at the India Art Summit on Saturday.

Porter Hill has been specialising in Indian and southeast Asian art since the late 1980s when she began working with the Indian miniature painting at Sotheby’s. Having moved to Indian modern and contemporary,she has a lot of good advice for young collectors. “Right now,Indian art is placed very strong. The price of Indian art has not exceeded that of China. So,there is still room for the prices to recover,despite the recession,” says Porter Hill who worked with Christie’s

for five years before she moved to Sotheby’s.

Her vast experience in trading in art tells her that the market,despite the lows it hit recently,will revive. “The supply must not exceed the demand. If a painter has 160 works that he wants to show,we advise him to show only 30. This keeps the interest up; it’s all about creating balance,” she adds.

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Porter Hill also believes that the India Art Summit is another way of creating interest. “I am so happy with projects like the Dream Museum project,the Devi Art Foundation and what Gallery Ske hosted — it’s out of the box,” she says,referring to the stalls which showcased fun interactive ideas and affordable art.

Her favourites are names that art enthusiasts have often heard,“Subodh Gupta and Bharati Kher,Atul and Anju Dodiya,

Sudarshan Shetty,Riyas Komu and Natraj Sharma. I also like a lot of the new and up-and-coming artists showing here,but it would be unfair to promote them now,” she adds.

Her invaluable advice to young collectors: “There is no better time to buy art than now. Of course,one must buy art that one likes but one has to look and learn before buying. Consult reliable sources; we at Sotheby’s provide free consultation. Also do not be afraid to experiment,to change your collection or even regret a buy. It’s all part of the game.”

First published on: 24-08-2009 at 23:23 IST
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