2 Jun 2008

Brand Value in Art

The list of branded watches, bags, and designer clothing now has a new addition - the painting on the wall. Not just any painting but one created by an artist who is a brand by himself. Going by recent auction reports it seems that new records are being created for artists who are perceived as huge brands. The price tags associated with certain artists can only be explained by their brand value. Internationally as well as within the country this trend is catching on big time. Indian artists have never had it better before. Brand Husain is immense and not only because of his art. His penchant for courting controversies and his constant presence in media ensures that his brand value never dips. Just as celebrity participation in talk shows and reality programmes on the small screen have spun success stories for the producers and advertisers, so have a select group of artists for their collectors and investors. The man on the street may not have heard of the local artist living down the lane but will surely have heard of Husain.

It is no surprise that art as a profession is catching the imagination of many youngsters. The million dollar records that are set and broken at international auctions spell glamour and attraction. Some of these artists who have a great international appeal and presence have acquired almost a cult status. People seem to covet their works irrespective of the fact whether they can relate to it or not. MF Husain, SH Raza, FN Souza, Subodh Gupta, Jitish Kallat are just some of the names that have become bigger than their art. The demand for these artists has grown dramatically over the years and has translated into phenomenal sales as well. These artists have become synonymous with status and a ready recall value, which adds to their brand value. Even the uninitiated approach art galleries and dealers with names from this list to ensure their investments remains safe and appreciates well in the next few years. It does appear that in art too the brand rules.

(Published in Financial Times)

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