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Please tell us about yourself
Anuradha Ghosh-Mazumdar was appointed Head of the Indian & Southeast Asian Art department at Sotheby’s in New York in 2011. Ms. Ghosh-Mazumdar joined Sotheby’s in 2003 as a Specialist for both Classical as well as Modern Indian art. Over the past decade she has played a key role in securing major consignments for Sotheby’s sales of Indian & Southeast Asian Art and Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art held in both New York and London. She has also built and nurtured many of Sotheby’s key client relationships in these markets, particularly in North America, a task she continues to perform in addition to her managerial duties as Department Head in New York.
During her time at Sotheby’s, Ms. Ghosh-Mazumdar has provided expertise for landmark sales of Indian and Himalayan art including the Jucker Collection of Himalayan Paintings (2006), Property from the Collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (2007), Indian miniature paintings from the Estate of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (2009), the Stuart Cary Welch Collection (2011), and the Estate of Dr. Claus Virch (2015 & 2016). Notable Modern & Contemporary South Asian Collections she has worked on include the Stevie and Steve Wilberding Collection (2005), the collection of Margot and Paul Zimmerman (2007), the Arrand and Margaret Parsons Collection (2008) the June and John Lewis Collection (2012) and the Collection of Dr. Johanna Nestor (2014) amongst others. Works featured in these collections and sales realized record prices at auction. Ms. Ghosh-Mazumdar has lectured widely on the Indian art market at both private and public forums, most notably at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (2006), the University of Cambridge’s Judge Business School (2009), the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto (2015), and the Seattle Asian Art Museum (2016).
Please tell us about yourself . How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and unusual career?
In the sixth grade, most of our ambitions and free afternoons centered around how to skip the next day’s homework. Anuradha Ghosh Mazumdar meanwhile stood in a snaking queue in the pouring rain, outside a gallery in Kolkata, waiting to see a special exhibition on sculptor Rodin. Oh yeah, she was also in the sixth grade. It’s fitting that her career today is an extension of that queue.
Please tell us about your education and career path
In 2001, she completed her Master’s degree in Museum Studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, her dissertation being on Gandharan Bodhisattva sculptures. In 1995 she was the gold medalist in the Master’s degree program in Ancient Indian Art History and Archaeology from the University of Calcutta, India. In addition to her expertise in art history Ms. Ghosh-Mazumdar has prior experience in the fields of Advertising and Marketing and is currently completing a Certificate course in Wealth Management at New York University.
What was your career path
Prior to joining Sotheby’s, Ms. Ghosh-Mazumdar worked at The Asia Society Museum in New York as Public Relations Manager, promoting the institution’s Arts & Culture programs amongst Asian and American audiences.
As senior cataloguer of the Indian and Southeast Asian Art section at Sotheby’s New York, her childhood interest in the temple architecture in Chennai and the cultural overdose of Kolkata are just added perks. “I moved to New York in 1998 and sought the opinion of curators and other professionals who encouraged me to pursue a degree in museum studies.”
Leaving behind a large extended family scattered all over India (“I especially miss my parents and sister!”) Anuradha was recruited at Sotheby’s when the Indian and Southeast Asian department was being re-staffed. As senior cataloguer, she has more to do than just stare at pretty paintings all day long. “During sales, work gets quite manic! I’d sum up my job in two words — client servicing.”
What do you love about your job?
Like most ex-pat Bengalis, Anuradha is well versed in Rabindrasangeet (Tagore’s school of music). “Art is central to my life and my job does take up a lot of my time, but I try to achieve a (sometimes elusive) balance between work and home, family and friends.” That also includes indulging the bookworm in her — reading everything from classics and thrillers to poetry and historical novels. “And, of course, like any self-respecting Indian I enjoy reading works by Indian authors.”
While she misses the sights, sounds and smells of hometown Kolkata, she’s also enjoying the headiness of being involved intrinsically with Indian art in its hey days. “I recently attended a lecture at the Brooklyn museum on Indian jewellery. Everyone in the room had either been to India recently or was planning a trip, and they were all asking me questions about the boom in modern Indian art.”
She also breaks misconceptions about its success. It isn’t just canvasses that are ringing the cash registers. “Video and digital art and sculptures and installations by contemporary artists are regularly being featured at art shows and international exhibitions. They’re also included at international shows — the Venice Biennale and the Art Basel among others.”