29 Dec 2008

What is decorative art?

(By Nalini S Malaviya)


With the slowdown in the art market, the biggest gainer has been art which falls in the realm of decorative art. A more affordable form of art, decorative art is characterized by its visual and aesthetic sense. The themes depicted are pleasant, non-controversial and make use of colours that have a pleasing effect. Some of them are derived from traditional folk arts and crafts, and may make use of excessive ornamentation to have an ornate impact. While, some on the other hand, focus on creating a harmonious balance with the use of right colours to have a soothing and calming effect. The former, where the use of craft is intended to create a gilt feel, it is easier to characterize as decorative art. Whereas, in the latter case, the lines could get blurred and these can be more difficult to categorize.

In decorative art, where mere skill is used to define the visual language, lack of components such as concept, composition, effective communication and other such factors fail to draw the discerning collector. This in turn has an effect on the overall investment value of the artwork. In contemporary art, the cerebral content of the artwork is an important criterion in making an artist stand out above his peers.

Often artists who focus on the decorative value of their works tend to produce them in quick succession, the content is often repetitive with slight variations and the artists also appear to be catering to popular demand. However, such art finds huge favour with local galleries and dealers, as this forms a category that is generally a fast moving commodity. Within the art fraternity categorization between decorative and other forms of art is common, and well known, where collectors and artists are able to differentiate between the various classifications of art with ease. Whereas, most other buyers are attracted to decorative art thanks to their intrinsic aesthetic content. Fortunately, there is no right or wrong in art and one should follow one’s instinct in responding to a work of art. Only when the motive is financial investment that one needs to hone one’s instincts and do a proper research before buying,

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