Van Gogh and Picasso to be auctioned by an Indian gallery New Delhi - Arabstoday The first works by Van Gogh and Picasso to be auctioned by an Indian gallery are on display at a luxury hotel in New Delhi, a sign that dealers in Western art are now chasing local money. The 1885 Van Gogh landscape “L’Alee aux deux promeneurs” and the 1953 Picasso oil “Le Transformateur” are being previewed ahead of a sale next month when 73 lots by top Impressionist and modern artists will go under the hammer. The auction will be the first sale of international masterpieces to target India, where a developing interest in Western art has been fuelled by strong economic growth. “Indian collectors don’t necessarily have access to this sort of work but they have grown up with these big names,” said Abha Housego, representative of Saffron Art, which is conducting the online auction. “It is a major challenge to do something like this for the first time.” Housego said that wealthy Indian collectors were broadening out from Indian artists such as M. F. Hussain, the celebrated painter who died last year, toward international stars. “Indian art is strong but Van Gogh represents a gold standard for buyers.These names bring people in.” Timed to coincide with the fourth annual India Art Fair in the city, the auction preview also includes work by Marc Chagall and Henry Moore alongside the Van Gogh – which has an estimated auction price hitting $1 million. “There is such a burgeoning art market here and a fantastic economic scenario,” the fair’s founder Neha Kirpal told AFP. “For the first fair we had three foreign galleries, but this year it will be 45 foreign galleries from 20 countries.” Kirpal said the fair, which opened Thursday, tries to balance development of the local art scene with education of a new generation of collectors who will have an ongoing interest in top-class work. “The seriousness of foreign galleries at the show is very obvious as European dealers are in need of new markets,” she said. “There is saturation in some markets, as well as the changing economic environment. “In India there is optimism, looking especially at the growth in the luxury and lifestyle sectors.” Whether the new money will invest in Indian or international art is the key dilemma for dealers, but many feel domestic art is a riskier bet. “Prices were sky-rocketing and there were very high-value transactions taking place,” Kirpal said, remembering the dramatic bubble in Indian art prices that burst in about 2008. “What is required for a sustainable market is more people who are quality collectors who look at art in the long-term,” she said. One gallery owner at the fair, Peter Femfert from Frankfurt, said he had seen collectors in other emerging markets such as South Korea move from homegrown art to world classics. “It is the way collectors move,” he said, promoting an Andre Masson painting.