I had mixed feelings when I saw Claude Monet on the walls selling at a discount of 25 per cent and his Poppyfield-Argenteuil selling as a card at a discount of 20 per cent. But then I banished the thought.
There is much to be said for beautiful things and the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York has opened, interestingly enough, not its museum or an art gallery, but its first store in India. And the Empire is buying back.
Store No. 1 is on the ground floor of the Select City Walk mall in Saket. “We plan to open five more stores — two in Bangalore and Mumbai each and one in Hyderabad — within the next month,” says Tarun Khanna, CEO of The Met in India. Why must we source our own things like Buddha busts and Mughal ornaments from an American museum and buy them at such high prices? “Indian museums offer nothing to Indian businessmen,” said Khanna. “When it comes from America, we are sure of its value.”
Other ‘original replicas’ of world art that could be yours if you stroll into this shop past the Swarovski store, are the Poet’s Hands, a reproduction of the clasped hands of Robert and Elizabeth Browning (Rs 11,999), a water-resistant Cubist-style watch (Rs 16,999) by French artist Jean Goulden and sculptures by another Impressionist, Edgar Degas . Degas’s Bather, Dancer, Dancer with Raised Right foot, and Horse at Trough sit rather matter-of-factly, waiting for buyers next to another favourite museum category, the Egyptians.
“The Hatshepsut Sphinx is at least 60 feet high. You get yours for 12 inches,” points out Khanna.
A bit of unsolicited advice: do not bargain. And do not keep what you buy next to the ceramic ducks on the third rack of your wall cabinet.