1 Sep 2008

Focus shifts to upcoming artists

(Nalini S Malaviya)

There is renewed focus on young and upcoming artists as prices of established artists are climbing beyond the reach of most buyers. In general, mid-range and top bracket artists fetch prices in the range of multiple lakhs and crores, and this phenomenon is affecting the new buyer who would like to begin an art collection. Most buyers begin with an initial budget of less than a couple of lakhs. Hence it is no surprise that all eyes are on fresh emerging talent. Incidentally, new artists too price their works in the range of Rs 25,000 to 50,000, depending on the medium and size.

Art galleries are actively searching for new talent and promoting them as the next generation of investment worthy artists. While, this bodes well for the younger artists and the Indian art scene, it does have its ramifications.
Artists without a proven track record will be snapped up by galleries and may even be promoted aggressively. This, in turn can affect the market in the long run.
It also means that collectors and investors must conduct a comprehensive research before investing in new artists. Lack of artist’s history in term of previous sales and growth rate may detract a few buyers, but overall, attractive pricing may swing the deal in most cases.

On their part reputed art galleries will ensure that they tie up with promising artists, but on the other hand, fly by night operators are likely to be less discerning.
The advantage with established galleries is that have trained staff who have the ability to spot talent. Artists too will benefit from such associations, and this, in fact is a good time for talented young artists coming out from prestigious art schools. Many are offered sponsored shows even before they graduate out of art institutes. All this implies that the credentials of the promoting gallery becomes extremely important. Apart from the quality of the work, buyers will also be relying on the credibility of the gallery.

(Published in Financial Times)

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