Cheap or low-grade material will degrade faster, thereby affecting its overall lifespan and may require higher maintenance and even frequent restoration in the interim period. Fortunately, excellent quality paper (for paintings and photographs), canvas and pigments are now available in the country and that too at reasonable costs. Established artists do ensure that they opt for the best-available materials and rarely cut corners.
Earlier, when options were limited, and better canvases and pigments had to be imported, buyers too were more forgiving. But today, when everything is easily available off the shelf there is no excuse for inferior choices. Therefore, even if the painting is of excellent quality, it is not enough. Paper is especially prone to wear and tear, and one needs to be extra cautious when buying them.
Good quality paper that could last for almost a century without significant damage is available in the market and many artists use it as well. In short, as a buyer you have every right to question and find out more about the materials which have been used in the artwork in order to safeguard your interests. It is important for everyone to be quality-conscious, and if galleries and buyers insist on it, compliance will improve and all artists will shift to better-grade materials in order to sustain the works.
(Published in Financial Times)