KOLKATA - An unprecedented global demand for Indian art, both old and contemporary, has given rise to a flourishing fake-art market, with artists discovering, much to their horror, that their works are being forged and reproduced - at times even brilliantly executed - and sold as original art both at home and overseas.
"Indian art is selling like hotcakes at overseas auctions," says R B Bhaskaran of Lalit Kala Academy, an art-promoting institution that is a wing of India's Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Culture, adding, "Certain agencies spread across the country are systematically indulging in faking paintings and other works of art like sculptures and antiques." And according to Sharan Apparao, owner of the Chennai-based Apparao Gallery, "Every year, about 20-30 fakes of important paintings and 50-100 fakes of [less] important paintings get released for the markets globally."
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It's hot here in New York, where I'm a student, and I doubt most of the pretenders who buy Indian art really know what they're looking at. If you're going to buy art of any kind, do your homework. Know the gallery and know the piece you want to buy, and then worry about the price if you have to. As with anything else, if it's too good to be true, it probably is.