Sotheby's to further expand into India

Sotheby’s is undoubtedly one of the most recognisable names in fine art but there is clearly no room for it to sit back and rely on its reputation to see it through, with Robin Woodhead, the chairman of Sotheby’s International, unveiling several new moves to help it to expand into the Indian market.
As well as opening an office in Mumbai, the company has also announced several strategic appointments.
Edward Gibbs is now the Chairman of Sotheby’s India, Middle East and North Africa and Priyanka Mathew has been appointed Regional Director, Sotheby’s India.
It is by no means new ground for Sotheby’s as it has already been active in India for nearly 30 years.
Indeed, leading collectors have already been holding regular events in New Delhi and Mumbai and in 1992, Sotheby’s became the first international auction house to hold an auction in India.
Since then, enthusiasm from Indian collectors has grown tremendously, with clients across the country seeing purchases grow on average 42 per cent year over year over the last five years.

India a vibrant market

The move is likely to be seen by many analysts as being a demonstration of commitment to the clients based across the country, with the opening of a new office an ideal way of increasing support of clients in the area and the number of activities held throughout the year, including exhibitions and charity sales.
Fittingly, the announcement has coincided with a preview in Mumbai of highlights taken from its upcoming Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art sale in London in October.
As regional director, Priyanka Mathew will focus on increasing the visibility of the auction house’s brand in India and will be entrusted to seek more business with existing clients and engage with a new audience of private and corporate collectors.
Edward Gibbs, chairman of Sotheby’s India, Middle East & North Africa, told the Economic Times that this move was also coinciding with an exciting time in the country’s art scene.
He said: “The art scene in India has never been more vibrant, including the opening of new galleries, museums and other initiatives. Our active Indian clients are increasing the value of their purchases at over 40 per cent a year.”
Mr Gibbs went on to say that the value of the Indian art market was set for impressive growth.
“By 2012, the global figure was $275 million. The number of Indian clients participating in our sales continues to increase. Bidding was up by 11 per cent,” he added.