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Home > Discover Mumbai > Art and Culture > Personalities

 Ashish Balram Nagpal  

Guru of Art Investment

Ashish Balram Nagpal Quiet sometime ago one of the leading magazines of the country carried an article which included the following:

"Art dealer Ashish Balram Nagpal hangs a couple of carrots at the Sophia Art Gallery in Mumbai, promises the ad -- rather artlessly. And under it, in not-so-fine print: "Invest Rs 5,000 in a painting today and you could be a lakhpati by the end of the month."

Painting by Vijay DhargalkarThis move was considered to be a marketing gimmick by most people and had appalled art lovers . Ashish Balram Nagpal had faced severe criticism on account of this but he continues to remain unfazed by what the world has to say about his promotional tactics. A thorough businessman, Nagpal, self admittedly is here to make money. The very concept of art as an object of worship has undergone a virtual change, courtesy Ashish Balram Nagpal. Today, in India, art is considered as an investment due to his efforts. Nagpal has made people aware of the importance of art as a financial investment. "When I hit the art scene there was a strange boom with everybody and anybody buying paintings. But this is no longer so, for people are a lot more discerning when it comes to selecting paintings . They do not buy just to do up their house but they so keeping in mind the long term financial prospects, " says Nagpal.

Painting by Prabhakar Barwe.With markets becoming increasingly volatile and unpredictable, Nagpal adds that, "It is futile to invest in stocks and shares for the mortality rate is very high, but in the case of art you always profit for its prices always move in an ascending order. " "Art today is an amalgamation of liking, together with long term investment " asserts Nagpal. Speaking on the important role played by art galleries in art promotion, he says , " Merely having talent is not enough as an artist has to be savvy. It is the painters efficiency and the dealers expertise that ensures success. A painter's talent can go completely unnoticed if his work is not backed by any dealers and as a result many talents fade into obscurity . "

Painting by M.F.HussainComing from a business family with no true understanding of art , Nagpal has indeed come a long way as an art dealer. He was responsible for organising immensely successful solo exhibitions of well known painters such as Manu Parekh, Manjit Bawa and many more. Works of painters such as M. F. Hussain , Anjolie Ela Menon, Ganesh Pyne, Manash Kamal Biswas has been curated by him . Having bought the gallery Ashish Balram Nagpal Art Gallery, in Juhu " I had the opportunity to display the works for the first time. "

 Painting by Baiju Parthan Nagpal continues to remain unfazed by the criticism that is hurled at him. "I am an art dealer and do not bother about charges of peddling art and exploiting artists. " Asked to comment on his being described as an art investor guru, Nagpal says, " It is very difficult for me to say anything ".

His gallery remains a source of immense pleasure as "it is an amalgamation of good art ". A regular columnist with the Sunday Mid-Day he also writes for a foreign magazine by the name of Sovereign, where he writes on investment in art. Very happy to go about as an art dealer, Nagpal describes himself as "a person who was alive when he lived . ". Having taken the title of art dealer to new heights, Ashish Balram Nagpal is one person people might chose to hate, but are unable to ignore.

By : Sharmistha Chatterjee

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