The sotheby’s india MD has an insatiable hunger for the fine art, particularly contemporary work


India’s economy and art market are growing simultaneously. The growing presence of Indian collectors at international sales is a testament to the development of an increasingly vibrant domestic art market. One such passionate art collector is Gaurav Bhatia. Known as one of the most sough-after luxury experts in the country, Bhatia once gave up a trip to the Bahamas to buy his first painting.

Born and brought up in Mumbai, Gaurav is from the prestigious Cathedral John Connon School, whothen went on to complete his higher education from Middlebury College in the United States. With a dual degree in Economics and Film-making, he began his career as an ad manat Young & Rubicam in New York. With sheer dedication and zeal he rose the rank and went onto become Associate Partner. Bhatia handled the responsibility to managethe brand development of blue chip clients from the industry such asSony, Heinz, Singapore Tourism, Tata Motors, Taj Group of Hotels, Kraft, and Aventis to name a few.

In 2007, Bhatia came back to India and joined the luxury conglomerate LVMH as a Marketing Director of Moët Hennessy India. He looked after the company’s incredible portfolio of Champagnes, wines and spirits across the India sub-continent. He introduced luxury consumptionand the French art de vivre to India.

Over the years, India’s luxury market has witnessed a substantial growth, which is fueled by rapidly increasing urban middle class, tight operations and customer-centric approach, but we aren’t even half way home. The high taxes, infrastructural issues continue to hinder growth, says Mr. Gaurav Bhatia.

A decade later, Gaurav then turned to his real passion and art. He was appointed as the Managing Director of Sotheby’s India in 2016.Handling the world’s oldest auction house, Bhatia aimed at bringing an international outlook to the currently thriving art scene in the country. He led the company with its first auction in India in November 2018.

Gaurav guided the company to unleash a unique theme, Boundless India, wherein the sale not only included the work of India’s greatest artists across mediums, but also the artwork of western artists inspired by India. Gaurav leading the Indian division of Sotheby’s, played a key role in cementing the brand in India.

One cannot separate India from art. Our country’s rich culture and diverse heritage is the core of this association. Its organic. The existing art eco system in India is vibrant but needs continued public and private investment, Bhatia says.

Achieving new milestones in his career, Gaurav has been responsible for opening up new markets, creating new categories, working on business development and expanding customer base across South Asia and the United States. He has received various awards and accolades for his exemplary work. Bhatia has won the award of “Best Innovation in Customer Relationship” in two consecutive years (2010, 2011) for being able to initiate a corporate selling and wedding program. He also won the Best PR Award in 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 at MH Asia-Pacific Awards.

Considered an opinion leader in Luxury and Lifestyle, Gaurav has contributed across media from The New York Times, International Herald Tribune, CNN, Mint, Economic Times, Times of India, The Hindu, Forbes and Vogue. He also lectures on how to build luxury brands. Apart from being an art collector, Gaurav. He has been on India’s list of cultural evangelists and has been the city’s best ambassador, as per Time Out Mumbai.

Recently, Gaurav Bhatia launched ‘MAISON’, a luxury and lifestyle advisory cell. The firm is a young and audacious luxury, bridge-to-luxury and lifestyle advisory cell that shares the magic of brands with India. Bhatia believes in a long-term vision that builds on the legacy of brands, encouraging creativity and business excellence. Under his leadership, MAISON is all set to offer a number of services to the clients, which include marketing solutions, business development ideas, branding and rebranding solutions, communication and content creation, PR and digital strategy, etc.

MAISON is in the business of ideas. We like the simple way of looking at things, wiping away the marketing drivel that brands tend to get caught up in, we like to think strategic. And we like to think passionate. Brands today need to be disruptive, immersive and tell stories, says Gaurav.

Having made a name for himself in the luxury and art market, Gaurav Bhatia is all setto tread on a similar path, leading his own venture. It will interesting to see how Bhatia uses his 20-year experience to make a difference, yet again.

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