13 Jul 2009

Modern artists remain in demand

(By Nalini S Malaviya)

Although, art prices for both modern and contemporary artists have fallen substantially in the last few months, it appears that the demand for certain modern artists continues to rule the market. Most buyers look for specific artists when they scout the market to make an investment in art, and a majority of them look for artists that form the biggest brands. The reason behind the trend is that as the demand for these artists does not follow seasonal changes, it is easier to resell their works.

Most of these modern artists have been a part of numerous international auctions and their works have reached a stable graph both in terms of quality and pricing (although, their auction price points are much lower than what is seen by their western counterparts). Recently, too, it was noticed that at auctions held in India and abroad, the modern artists were much more in demand compared to the contemporary artists.

Collectors who own works by the top most segment of modern artists are happy to wait out the recessionary period as they are sure that prices will go up in the future. Or, when approached by prospective clients the sale figures they quote remain on the higher side. This is yet another instance where the seller dictates terms. In fact, negotiations, if held, are minimal.

Still, one can see that buyers are not on a wild spending spree – images are carefully evaluated before the sale actually happens. It also implies that awareness about art and its pitfalls has percolated extensively and made the buyer more discerning. This single factor alone will help the art market immensely, after all, when buyers will demand quality, the artist and the dealer will have no option but to comply.

The demand for modern artists may persist for some time as the buyers continue to play safe, but soon, when the market begins to revive at a faster rate, and there is lot more liquidity to play around with, interest in contemporary art is likely to shoot up again.

(Published in Financial Times)

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