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    Artist Olaf Van Cleef brings his crystal-inspired collection to the city .

    Artist, author and ex-consultant to Cartier, Olaf Van Cleef is back in the city with his new collection of paintings. The scion of the Van Cleef family (who were jewellers to the Czars) had his first exhibition in the city and feels that “Madras people want high quality and are very difficult to satisfy”. The 66-year-old Dutch artist, who has a gallery in Pondicherry dedicated to upcoming artists, believes that “if Kolkata is the culture capital of India, Chennai is the more glamorous city”. Shifting away from portraying Indian deities on canvas, Van Cleef will showcase his collection of abstract paintings at Taj Coromandel. “After having painted gods and godesses of India, Buddha and the gurus of Bhutan, I took a break and returned to my first love, the abstract,” he says. The exhibit, Crystal Dreams, includes 50 paintings— 32 new ones with Swarovski elements and 18 of his previous works. Commenting on what one can expect to glean from his newest offerings, he says they are open to interpretation. “Whether you’d like to see fireworks in Marina Drive or a multicoloured jellyfish, it is up to you,” he says. The artist is also working on an exhibition for Guwahati, scheduled for 2017.
    Phony matters
    Van Cleef, who admits to not having owned a mobile phone before March 2015, is also bringing down a collection of custom-made phone covers (from `10,000). Personalising your gadgets is key in the artist’s opinion, so expect  unique styles with big stones.
    At the Presidential Suite, Taj Coromandel, on September 2-4. From 2 pm onwards.
    Details: 9840850839.

    —Simar Bhasin


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