MAHESH Chandra, 48, psychiatrist, started his collection with western art—Miro lithographs and Andy Warhol serigraphs—during his 20-year stint in the US. Back home in India since '92, he has built up a formidable collection, valued at over Rs 40 lakh, of 20th century Indian painters a la Husain, Ram Kumar, Tyeb Mehta, Bhupen Khakhar and Bengal school water colourists. His buying philosophy: "I'm guided by my own study and research, my personal aesthetic. Not investment value, that's irrelevant. My thumb rule: buy an artist only when he is 40. That's when their work matures."
...and the parvenu
ARJUN Chopra, 40, exporter, is candid. "I started buying art last year to encourage my gallery owner sister. What began as a pep up ploy is now a personal passion." Estimated worth of his fledgling collection: Rs 2 lakh. What guides his choice? "I like bold, stark colours." Does he buy art as investment? "Not really. Most painters in my collection are young unknowns." What is the most expensive work he bought? "Anything that's a lakh plus is a 'bomb'. My Dhiren Choudhary canvas at Rs 60,000 is my most expensive buy". Any preferences in terms of periods, genres? "I prefer figurative work. I bought one abstract which I hang upside down because it makes a lot more sense that way. None of my friends are the wiser!"