INITIATIVE Saffronart launches curated collections of a vast range of products at a fixed price on its online platform. SHAILAJA TRIPATHI
There are new stories tumbling out of Saffronart, an online auction house for modern and contemporary Indian art. Taking a route other than auctions, which is Saffronart’s forte, the auction house is now trying to reach out to a connoisseur of a different kind: “Somebody who wants to buy and own a thing immediately,” clarifies Yamini Telkar, head of Saffronart in Delhi. With their new initiative ‘The Story’, it launches time-limited collections of hard-to-find objects — from art and jewellery to rare books, regional crafts like shawls, carpets, textiles and memorabilia — available for sale every day. They come at a fixed price and are curated in a way that they tell a story.
It’s not that these products have never featured in their auctions. But Yamini insists the range and the way they have been put together is a far cry from ever before. “We have these amazing wooden boxes which are intricately carved, but in which category do you present them at the auction? It’s not tribal because it has been made in a city by modern craftsmen, and it’s not an antique piece either,” adds Yamini explaining what necessitated the need for a platform beyond the auctions.
What also sets it apart from their other ventures is that the collection is bound by a beautiful coherent narrative. “If it’s an old carpet, then who owned it before you and what is so unique about it. We already have a blog on the website that reveals these stories.”
Saffronart has roped in specialists like art critic Girish Shahane, Simran Lal of Good Earth, Rajeev Samant of Sula Wines, Nadia Samdani of the Dhaka Art Summit, Charu Sachdev of TSG and Faiza Seth of Casa Forma to curate some of these collections. “A collection will have a minimum of 12 objects and will be online for two to three weeks,” Telkar informs us.
Apart from a vastly different product range, another high point of the new initiative is their availability at various prices.
“If there is a story on weaves from Kashmir, we will have an antique shawl or a carpet which will obviously be priced high. But the same collection will also feature a new piece recently crafted by artisans, which is much more affordable.”
(Their first collection, featuring weaves from Kashmir, antiquarian maps like a 1525 map by Laurentius Frisius, serigraphs of M.F. Husain, goes live online at www.saffronstory.com this afternoon.)