The Story is Live!

Sneha Sikand of Saffronart on the launch of a new website for curated collections of beautiful and hard to find objects

New Delhi: The Storya new website by Saffronart, where you can browse, learn about and acquire desirable objects ranging from fine art, home accessories to jewels and timepieces has just launched. What is interesting is that the collections are not necessarily what you usually find in a Saffronart auction. Understanding the desire for people to acquire items that appease their aesthetic sensibilities, The Story by Saffronart has put together a mix of age-old tradition and innovation in its collections.

S.H. Raza, Maa…
Serigraphy on paper
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The artwork collections comprise limited edition serigraphs and prints from masters of the modern art world, both Indian and international, as well as revivals of traditional forms such as Bundi miniature paintings, and as Mithila paintings from Bihar.

Copperplate engraving, Gastaldi’s new map of India
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Other collections range from beautifully crafted Chinese wedding baskets, to an exceptional set of antiquarian maps dating to the 16th century that chart India through the eyes of European explorers and cartographers. Objects available in ‘The Story’ are listed on the website for a limited period of time.

While every collection on The Story is unique, together they represent the meeting of tradition and innovation, age-old craftsmanship and contemporary design. Each collection has been put together around a narrative; an account of a culture, place, custom, genre or technique. Some of these stories have also been woven around the aesthetic sensibilities, experiences and memories of highly regarded individuals- The Story’s discerning tastemakers – who have agreed to share their knowledge, collecting experience and good taste with you through the collections they curate.

Collections from The Story are now available and can be viewed and purchased on the website

Serigraphy: A Word of Advice for New Collectors

Amy Lin of Saffronart explores the benefits of collecting limited edition serigraphs for new collectors

New York: The questions “What should I collect?” and “Where should I begin?” come up very often for collectors looking at modern Indian art for the first time. Of course, there are the great masters, M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, V.S. Gaitonde and others, but originals cost a small fortune and are quite difficult to come by. So what can an aspiring young collector do?

Serigraph making process
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One possible starting point is serigraphs. Later this week, The Story by Saffronart will be featuring a collection of signed, limited edition serigraphs from modern Indian masters such as Husain, S.H. Raza and Thota Vaikuntam. It is a wonderful opportunity for young collectors to purchase works by renowned artists at affordable prices. Now, your next question will probably be: Seri-what?

Serigraphy is an English printing technique pioneered in the early 20th century. It’s similar to silk screening or screen printing, where a stencil is used to print directly on the paper. The stencil is made by stretching porous fabric over a wooden or metallic frame. Next, the printer will use paper or fabric to block off the image’s negatives. The stenciled screen is then placed over the printed medium while oil or water based ink is spread evenly across the screen. Finally, the artist uses a rubber squeegee to press the ink through the porous fabric and onto the paper below. If the artwork requires a different colour, the print is allowed to dry before another colour or stencil is applied. Here is a step by step demo of the process.

The result from this laborious process is a fine quality print that rivals the original but costs a fraction of the price. While a Husain original could easily fetch over $100,000, an authorized and signed serigraph print by the artist will only cost 3-5% of the price.

Skeptics may argue that investing in reproductions is not worth it. But many would agree that serigraphs are fine artworks in their own right. Each serigraph print differs slightly from the next, picking up subtle nuances in character and attitude through the printing process. In addition, most artists will print their serigraphs in limited, numbered editions, enhancing their exclusivity.

M F Husain designing a serigraphy scroll
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Husain was one of the artists who championed the artistic value of serigraphs by collaborating with Anil Reila, founder of Ahmedabad’s Archer Art Gallery. In 2000, Husain designed his own serigraph scrolls and had 500 editions of his Ashtha Vinayak made. This ambitious project was a great success and the prints sold out within days. Husain viewed his art with a populous mentality, always wanting to ensure it would be accessible and affordable to as many as possible. Other galleries such as the Serigraph Studio have legitimized serigraphy as a true art form by holding exhibitions exclusively of these prints.

Perhaps it’s the linear nature of Indian art that makes it suitable for printing or its bold colours that beckon for reproduction. Either way, serigraph prints are an excellent point for young collectors to start their journeys with Indian art. As Relia puts it in an interview with India Today, “The value rises when the edition is sold out and availability becomes scarce.” And later adds, “With Indian art now getting appreciation and applause everywhere, it is important that people have easy access to art prints by the great artists of our country.”

Pratham UK & Saffronart present ARTiculate 2012

Devika Monga of Saffronart on Pratham UK and Saffronart’s third fundraising collaboration, ARTiculate 2012

London: We kick started October by hosting a preview for ARTiculate 2012, a collaborative venture to raise funds for Pratham’s literacy programs in India, in our London gallery. Pratham, which means ‘first’ in Hindi, was founded in Mumbai by UNICEF in 1994 to address the issue of illiteracy amongst India’s children.

S.H. Raza, Pulvari, Acrylic on canvas pasted on paper, 2005, 10 x 3.5 in

S.H. Raza, Pulvari, Acrylic on canvas pasted on paper, 2005, 10 x 3.5 in

A non-governmental organization, Pratham brings together village communities, governmental agencies, corporate sponsors and young volunteers to promote literacy and vocational training and to eradicate child labour. Through its ‘Read India Program’, Pratham has managed to change the lives of over 35 million children in India. Pratham UK, which was launched to focus on fundraising in the country, hosts ARTiculate each year along with Saffronart as part of this effort.

This edition of ARTiculate, curated by Smriti Rajgarhia, is titled ‘Into the Looking Glass’ and aspires to engage viewers in a ‘philosophical dialogue’ with the art on display.

T. Vaikuntam, Untitled, Acrylic on canvas, 35 x 23 in

T. Vaikuntam, Untitled, Acrylic on canvas, 35 x 23 in

It features an array of artworks by the best of both modern and contemporary Indian artists. The show includes works like Thota Vaikuntam’s painting of a Telangana group in rich colours celebrating the culture of South India, and Krishen Khanna’s canvas depicting a bandwallah or musician. S.H. Raza’s work ‘Phulvari’ represents the artist’s celebration of nature and its elements, particularly water, and Satish Gujral’s popular ‘man and horse’ pairing addresses themes of captivity and freedom.

In the contemporary section, some of the artworks include a print of high rise buildings by Pooja Iranna, a pair of psychedelic works by Ketna Patel offering a tongue-in-cheek take on the street culture of India, and Farhad Hussain’s Dance of Consumption, portraying human and animal figurines in vibrant colours and many more.

K. Patel, a) I am a goddess b) Pipe Dreams, Screen Prints on Acrylic, 2012, 39.5 x 39.5 in

K. Patel, a) I am a goddess b) Pipe Dreams, Screen Prints on Acrylic, 2012, 39.5 x 39.5 in

ARTiculate sets to both commemorate Indian art and culture and contribute to a noble cause. This year’s exhibition offers works by some of the best known Indian artists, and is an absolute treat for young collectors and philanthropists.

P. Iranna, Untitled, Digital Print on Archival Paper, 54 x 71.5 in

P. Iranna, Untitled, Digital Print on Archival Paper, 54 x 71.5 in

The preview, which was held on Tuesday at our gallery in London, was very lively and eventful. The works will also be displayed at the Pratham Gala, which is the highlight of their annual calendar and attended by some the United Kingdom’s most well known personalities and leading figures from various fields.

The works will be on display at our London gallery till this weekend, so come and pay us a visit, and support Pratham and their wonderful cause.