How the definition of affordable art has changed over the years! Having grown at a furious pace in the last few years, the Indian art market is currently estimated to be valued at around Rs 1,500 crores. And, market sources predict that Indian art is likely to continue its impressive performance, but what is unclear or has an element of ambiguity is the growth rate. Whether the market grows at the same spectacular rate it has seen in the past remains to be seen. Despite this most experts feel that Indian art is one of the safest investment options, provided one invests after a thorough research and looks at it as a long term asset.
Affordability is surely a relative term. Earlier where one looked at investing Rs 10,000 to 50,000 on a painting; prices have now climbed substantially higher and now involve more than five digits. A few years ago one could buy an average sized work of art with associated investment value for less than a lakh, whereas now one would have to spend at least Rs 2 lakhs and above to pick up an artist with some investment potential. In fact, those contemporary artists who are considered to be ‘safe’ in terms of their investment potential are available only above Rs 5 lakhs. Unfortunately, these high figures can be a major deterrent to those looking at buying an affordable range of art that goes beyond decorative purposes.
Galleries and dealers are therefore introducing new artists with attractive pricing to plug the resultant gap in the market. This also helps in broadening the buyer base. At the same time this bodes well for young artists and promising talent. Students, fresh graduates and artists with 2 to 3 years experience are in a better position than ever before to sell their artworks. The demand for affordable art ensures that gallery representatives scout actively for reasonably priced artists and these are then marketed aggressively to create a clientele.
(Published in Financial Times)