10 Mar 2008

Wait before you sell that painting

As an art collector or investor you may want to sell some of the works in your collection and buy newer works. Unfortunately, due to tremendous media hype a lot of people have begun to look at art as a short cut to wealth. In six months. That is a myth. Art should always be looked at as a long-term investment. There might be isolated cases where someone has made money by selling a work in 6 months, but these are exceptions to the rule. If one is lucky enough to find a buyer who is willing to pay more than the market price for the work you own, then that is another story. In general, it is not easy to sell art in the secondary market unless you are either a part of or have contacts with a network of consultants, dealers, buyers and investors.

Some art galleries and dealers may assure young and new investors that they can always resell the painting, but in fact selling an artwork is very different from selling gold or shares. Although, gallery offers may appear tempting, one must take the time to consider that your money will be effectively ‘locked-in’ for a certain period when you invest in art. According to a Delhi based art consultant as an investor you must be aware that you must hold the work with you for a minimum of 3 years to get decent returns. In fact, if you can wait a five-year period that is an optimum timeframe which will fetch you better returns.

Investors who have been buying art for several years will happily tell you stories about how they bought a Husain for Rs 250 many decades ago. In fact in those days art was not looked upon as an investment avenue, but some of these ‘investors’ who have held on to their Husains, Razas and Padamsees are now probably a part of the millionaire club. In any case, the point is that one should not be in a hurry to sell art. Keep a pulse on the market, which will give you an idea how prices and the demand for that particular artist is evolving, which will also help you in making the decision.

(Published in Financial Times)


Anonymous said...

Dear madam,

I write to tell you of the following small project which may have relevance to your work. Feel free to forward this message on to anyone you think may be interested.


The Ecomimicry Project works creatively with the knowledge of local biologists, local conservationists and local artists to design technologies, landscapes and artworks that may foster sustainability.

Ecomimicry involves mimicking local animals and plants (or their ecological settings) to produce sustainable, eco-friendly, socially-responsible designs of technologies, landscapes and artworks.

The Ecomimicry Project has two study areas. The Great Southern coastal region of Western Australia and the Carpathian Mountain region of Eastern Europe. The aim is to draw inspiration from the unique ecology of one of these regions and then design technologies,landscapes and artworks based upon local wildlife and the local ecological settings.


Designers worldwide are invited to contribute to The Ecomimicry Project by submitting designs for new technologies or artwork inspired by the living nature inhabiting the Great Southern region of Western Australia or the Carpathian Mountain region of Eastern Europe.

Whilst workshops are being offered on-site for students and conservationists in Western Australia and the Carpathian Mountains, you don't have to be living in Western Australia or Eastern Europe to contribute.


Just about anything--it might be a product, a service, a landscape, an artwork, an agricultural setting; just as long as it is inspired by a Great Southern or Carpathian Mountain animal or plant or takes account of the local landscape in these regions..
This invokes the possibility of involvement from a plethora of disciplines: art and architecture, agriculture and forestry, ecology and biology, design and engineering, town planning and resource management. The final designs will be presented as two page spreads in a book to come out in 2008.


Dr. Alan Marshall, a Research Fellow, is the coordinator of this project and is working from Curtin University of Technology (Australia).


Nalini Malaviya said...

Thank you for writing in. Wish you luck with the project.

Anonymous said...

Hello Nalini

I would like to get started (atleast part-time) in the art promotion business. I know a couple of young upcoming artists who are really good. I was wondering if you could give me pointers on how I could promote them with potential buyers (not going through the galleries as they would charge their commission too).

Is there also some way I could find out about other young artists in Chennai.

Any tips on promoting new artists would be appreciated

Thanks and I like the articles published here.


Nalini Malaviya said...

Thank you Thomas.
Talent and knowledge are the foundation stones of any career. You need to first build a network which will assist you in promoting art. Get involved in 'art' activities, interact with artists, galleries and art lovers and all this will help you set up your own business.

All the best.