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A new address for art and artists...

There is a brush-storm brewing in Delhi. Art was never so appealing. Artists never had it so good. RANA A SIDDIQUI writes about Epigues Gallery in South Delhi that promises to showcase the works of new artists... .

RECALL THE excitement that ran through art lovers' veins when Picasso's painting exhibition showed in India early this year and the diffused hearts when it went a few months later. Many would have dug up hole into their pockets for possessing a masterpiece but those were not meant for sale.

But now Picasso can be had, so also flower master Vincent Van Gogh, the realistic expert Michaelangelo and Manet and Klimt Turner in India.

Archies' two-months old art gallery `Epigues' has come out with great art masters as also some lesser known ones predominantly from Europe. Against the backdrop of soothing music here, you have Lavish Lilies of Jeninie Tomao Br., a premium of colourful flowers spread in frames unlimited that seem to be a part of the painting itself, as also ships that stand calm on sea or wading through its waters against odd winds by Lady Butlar -- reflects much of our own Bikash Poddar. Sussan Crawford's `Three Horses' are close to M F Husain's horses. Some old pictures: 1935 George Washington Bridge, in New York, Scene of Paris - 1925 and so on. All these and more at Epigues Gallery at Mehrauli that soon finds another home at Naraina, Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Delhi and Noida.

It is claimed here that even the original texture of the master artworks is maintained. They are imported from Europe from licensed publishers and framed in Delhi in quality, ornate wood. What's more, it promises not to pinch the pocket as they range from Rs. 1,000 to 22,000.

"What prompted Archies to bring classics from Europe? "It was the Picasso show in India," says Youhan Darrab Aria, from the gallery. "It encouraged us to do a show of the reprints of masters in January this year. We did that at India Habitat Centre and it was a huge success. Then we brought Van Gogh and Monet in Chandigarh's Art Folio Gallery this March and the response was again overwhelming, same happened at Mumbai also but at all these places, one thing was common among the visitors -- the query as to where do they find these masters once the show is over? Only a few can afford to go abroad and buy a masterpiece. Not only are they expensive but also it is an onerous task to carry them home safe. Hence, Anil Moolchandani, Manager, Archies in India, decided to bring the reprints of both masters' and lesser known European artists but taking Indian taste into account. Hence, we have Picasso's modern art to Van Gogh's subdued to bright flowers, basic to semi-abstract to still life," he adds.

"An attempt to educate Indian masses the European art?" "Not really," Aria admits. "It happens on its own. More one sees such paintings, he gets educated on his own. We have brought paintings that are visually pleasing. We have no eccentric collection that one sees and makes futile attempt to understand. We are here for mass appeal and mass market."

It is not only European art that finds mention at Archies. "Indians masters are not ruled out in the near future and the youngsters will soon find a platform as we would keep their works at our galleries to encourage them," informs Aria.

The Gallery's next venture is "decorative Greek and Roman Urns" in its collection. As also, "Missing a niche in black and white paintings in the market," it comes out with black and white collection of paintings of European artists in October this year at IHC.

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