Robin Woodhead explains why Sotheby’s is taking their time in India focusing more on developing relationships with buyers than holding auctions in country:
Do you regret not being in Christie’s place in terms of having a sale here?
No. I don’t think that we need to hold auctions to be successful in the Indian market and the fact that we are still auctioning some of the great works of Indian art is a testimony of that. We will certainly watch the space and other auctions that are held here to see what pattern emerges out of it.
When will Sotheby’s conduct an auction in India?
We did have an auction in the 90s here. However, having said that, it (Christie’s success) does not mean that we will necessarily have a sale immediately in India. Right now we are principally focusing on connecting with collectors. We do it all the time. We make long-term commitment to the market. But, one of the facts that we are watchful of is that many of the buyers are actually from outside India.
At what rate is the number of your Indian clients growing?
Among the established collectors, we are seeing a 33% growth in the value of things they buy year-on-year. This reflects that our focus is not just on new buyers but also developing relationships with the existing ones. The new client base is also growing at an average of about 25% every year.
Sotheby’s to open India office soon, in no hurry to hold auction (Economic Times)