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Marilyn amidst meltdown

Defying the angst of the global economic meltdown, two young Indian entrepreneurs Gaurav Assmull, 23, and his brother Vickram, 21 are opening shop in the local luxe market with artworks by top European masters, reports Renuka Narayanan.

delhi Updated: Nov 20, 2008 00:11 IST
Renuka Narayanan

Defying the angst of the global economic meltdown, two young Indian entrepreneurs are opening shop in the local luxe market with artworks by top European masters.

Gaurav Assmull, 23, and his brother Vickram, 21, of the Marigold Group belong to old Sindhi business families of Mumbai and Delhi and grew up in Nigeria, London and Paris.

Their father has been in the oil business for the last 25 years and their mother, Sangeeta Assomull, imported jeweled Judith Leiber minaudieres (pillbox-sized purses) that start at several lakh per piece.

The brothers Assomull tied up last year with the Bel-Air Gallery in Geneva to acquire select 30 art works by modern and contemporary European masters like Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Stephane Cipre, Franck Tordjmann and David Kracov (Marilyn Monroe and Betty Boop collectibles).

This Saturday at the Claridges Hotel, New Delhi, they will present their first show and sale of sculptures, lithographs and paintings priced between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 30 lakh.

The brothers are confident about both their goods and their market.

“India is too big and important to go down. We’ll pick up again in a few months, though I agree six months ago would have been a better time to hold the show,” said Gaurav Assomull to Hindustan Times. “But this is affordable art. The Dali clock is priced around 15 lakh and the Picasso lithograph around nine. That’s hardly over-the-top for original works sourced from the Dali and Picasso Foundations. We saw a business opportunity and we want to pioneer this segment of the action. Next time we’ll bring home those fantastic fat ladies by Botero.”