16 Mar 2011

Essential to understand markets while investing in art

13 MAR, 2011, 05.27AM IST, NALINI S MALAVIYA,ET BUREAU

For those who are looking at buying art, it is important to tread cautiously at this point in time and do a thorough background check before investing large sums of money in it. One does not want to repeat the same mistakes which were made prior to or during the boom phase. What is positive is that there is a lot of interest in art, and there are many collectors and buyers who would like to invest in art. Yet, there is a slight hesitance due to past experience , which may not have been pleasant.

One of the best ways to go about it is to empower yourself to be able to make the right judgment about artworks, artists and prices. Therefore, it only makes sense to learn more about how the art market functions, the factors that influence and affect prices, how to choose the right gallery to buy from and most importantly , how to ensure that what you are buying is at the fair market price.

One of the things that were very common a few years ago was the trend that prospective buyers, essentially young professionals with disposable income, would approach art galleries with a specific amount of say, Rs 5-10 lakhs and request them to suggest artists or to even create a portfolio. The drawback with such an idea is that although a gallery of repute would ensure that your money is invested safely with appropriate buyback options, flyby-night operators would be bound to take advantage of such an offer.

Today, it would be wiser to either approach established, reputed galleries or professionals, or to research as much as possible before buying. This way, the responsibility of decision-making is in your hands, which is not only prudent but also enhances your involvement in the whole process.


(Published in Financial Times)
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