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Called Bid & Hammer, they will have their headquarters in Bangalore and promise to offer a wider range of art and antiques than any other auctioneer currently operating in India. Sales will cover traditional, modern and contemporary Indian art, furniture, silver, jewellery, ceramics, antiquarian prints, maps, books and vintage cars as well as cricket and film memorabilia.

Initially the focus will be on the Indian and South-Asian contemporary art markets, which thanks to the high rates of growth of the Indian economy are becoming an increasingly lucrative sector.

In fact, the southern city of Bangalore is noted as the main artistic hub in India after New Delhi and Mumbai, although only a few of the artists there have so far been introduced to the open market.

The man behind the project is Maher Dadha, a dealer and collector from an illustrious Rajasthani family.

Included on the board are His Highness Gaj Singh II, Maharaja of Jodhpur; His Highness Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali Azim Jah, Prince of Arcot; and Savita Apte, who until recently was head of Sotheby’s South Asian art for London and New York.

Mr Dadha’s two sons, Ankush and Apoorva, are also on the board and will be responsible for overseeing the marketing and logistical aspects of the business respectively.

One of the two executive directors is Professor Suresh Jayaram, an academic and artist who until recently was Dean of the Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath, one of the premier Indian art schools. He will be responsible for authentication, research and documentation. The other executive director is Pradeep Das, the former Vice President of ING Vysya Bank. He will focus on the financial and development strategy of the company.

Bid & Hammer’s inaugural sales will be their auctions of Modern & Contemporary Indian Art and Works of Art on January 24. They will be holding receptions and previews in New Delhi as well as Bangalore.

By Alex Capon