26 Nov 2007

Refrain from impulsive buying

It is the festival season and the New Year is also round the corner. This is the time when people spend a lot of money on shopping for clothes and jewellery, and in doing up their homes. Conventionally, art has been more of a home décor product rather than an investment instrument. Even today a lot of people buy art to transform their interiors.

There is nothing wrong in buying art as a decorative purchase, but one can try to integrate the two concepts – décor and investment. If you are spending more than Rs 50,000 on a work of art it makes sense to ensure that it is a sound investment. Anything less than Rs 50,000 can be bought for the sole purpose of dressing the walls.

Once you have decided to buy an artwork, curb your impulses and do not indulge in spontaneous buying. Generally at any given point of time, there are a number of art shows going on in the city. Take your time to know more about them and the artists that are being displayed there. When you are buying art purely for its visual appeal look for aesthetics, decorative aspects, colours, theme and style of painting. In such cases, the name of the artist or his credentials do not matter so much. But, always check out the quality of the materials used, since the longevity of the artwork depends on the choice of canvas, paper, frame and other hardware. Don’t let the art galleries push you into buying something you are not sure about. Take your time to make a decision.

Sometimes artworks that have been languishing in galleries for long can get damaged - scratches, minor tears and patchy colours may occur over time and these may not be visible at a casual glance. Watch out for those before buying.

If your budget is more than Rs 50,000 it is important to do all the necessary groundwork – artist’s credentials, price trends and provenance. Make sure you cover all aspects that will have a bearing on an artwork’s investment potential.

(Published in Financial Times)
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