Showing posts with label Affordable Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Affordable Art. Show all posts

9 Jan 2009

Consolidation and stabilization phase of the art market

(By Nalini S Malaviya)

The general perception is that the overall interest in art has dwindled to such an extent that no one is buying art. While, it is true that the amount of money that is being spent on art has gone down considerably, and that many galleries and dealers are affected, one can still come across many buyers who are continuing to buy art for its intrinsic value and also for investment. The economic recession has affected most businesses; at the same time there are people who are comparatively unaffected in the present situation.

There are still a lot of people who attend art show previews and other events. Some of them even end up buying paintings that they like. The category of art that was priced between Rs.15,000 to Rs.50,000 is seeing the maximum sales. Most of these works are either decorative or done by upcoming artists and even final year students from fine art institutes. It can also be noticed that most artists are now open to negotiation as far as prices are concerned. The boom time for art is definitely over and the plateau that one sees now reflects a healthier trend in the art market. This phase is also expected to allow artists and other members of the art community some breathing space which should eventually help the market. Greater introspection, more time and space to explore creativity, focus on business ethics will help in strengthening the market in the long term. As most analysts point out, this period of adjustment will help in the consolidation and stabilization of the art market. Well, it is important to begin the year on a positive note.

Most major art events such as fairs, biennales and seminars are going as per schedule. As galleries point out, it is important to continue with their events in order to keep the interest in art alive. 2009 will be significant in establishing and charting out the course that the art market will take in the years to come.

(Published in Financial Times)

29 Dec 2008

What is decorative art?

(By Nalini S Malaviya)

With the slowdown in the art market, the biggest gainer has been art which falls in the realm of decorative art. A more affordable form of art, decorative art is characterized by its visual and aesthetic sense. The themes depicted are pleasant, non-controversial and make use of colours that have a pleasing effect. Some of them are derived from traditional folk arts and crafts, and may make use of excessive ornamentation to have an ornate impact. While, some on the other hand, focus on creating a harmonious balance with the use of right colours to have a soothing and calming effect. The former, where the use of craft is intended to create a gilt feel, it is easier to characterize as decorative art. Whereas, in the latter case, the lines could get blurred and these can be more difficult to categorize.

In decorative art, where mere skill is used to define the visual language, lack of components such as concept, composition, effective communication and other such factors fail to draw the discerning collector. This in turn has an effect on the overall investment value of the artwork. In contemporary art, the cerebral content of the artwork is an important criterion in making an artist stand out above his peers.

Often artists who focus on the decorative value of their works tend to produce them in quick succession, the content is often repetitive with slight variations and the artists also appear to be catering to popular demand. However, such art finds huge favour with local galleries and dealers, as this forms a category that is generally a fast moving commodity. Within the art fraternity categorization between decorative and other forms of art is common, and well known, where collectors and artists are able to differentiate between the various classifications of art with ease. Whereas, most other buyers are attracted to decorative art thanks to their intrinsic aesthetic content. Fortunately, there is no right or wrong in art and one should follow one’s instinct in responding to a work of art. Only when the motive is financial investment that one needs to hone one’s instincts and do a proper research before buying,

18 Dec 2008

Not Original

(Nalini S Malaviya)

A client liked a painting she saw in a magazine and wanted it reproduced in a larger size. That set me thinking about copies (not multiples, as in lithographs, etc) or reproductions of a painting, which works out as an affordable option.
Reproductions of paintings done by famous artists have always been a popular choice with people looking at dressing their walls. One of the major reasons this is so much in vogue is because it is an affordable form of art. It costs only a fraction of the original. Obviously, there is little or no investment value from a financial angle in such paintings, but they have an immense decorative value. After all, how many people can afford a Picasso, Van Gogh, Rembrandt or a Raja Ravi Verma. In such cases there are three options - an offset print on paper, a digital print on canvas, or an oil reproduction

An offset print which is usually done on paper often tends to look tacky, and is not a good idea for dressing the interiors of residences. Small offices or low-budget reception areas tend to put these on their walls, and it is one way to add colour to drab walls.
Digital prints of paintings on canvas by Raja Ravi Verma and Haldenkar are very popular and have the advantage that these are available in various sizes. Being digitally reproduced, the colours and tonal values are matched closely with the original and give a similar look and feel as the original work. The prices also begin from somewhere around Rs.3000 or so, and therefore work out as an extremely affordable option. ‘Glow of Hope’ (also called Lady with the Lamp) a painting by Haldenkar always seems to be well in demand. Similarly, Raja Ravi Verma’s paintings are also much sought after. To reproduce these paintings in the digital format there are copyright and legal issues involved, and one should buy only from a reputed source. The good thing is that these can be printed on demand, and in the size that you want. Digital prints are of much better quality now, with better quality inks that last longer.

An oil reproduction is a wonderful way to enjoy a work of art by a famous artist. Unfortunately, oil reproductions are also fraught with issues, as fake art is a huge problem in the world of art. Therefore, be aware that there could be legalities involved and ensure you buy from a gallery that has copyrights in place. Reproductions are available from prices as low as Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000 or more, so go ahead and own a work of art.

21 Apr 2008

Affordable art with investment value

How the definition of affordable art has changed over the years! Having grown at a furious pace in the last few years, the Indian art market is currently estimated to be valued at around Rs 1,500 crores. And, market sources predict that Indian art is likely to continue its impressive performance, but what is unclear or has an element of ambiguity is the growth rate. Whether the market grows at the same spectacular rate it has seen in the past remains to be seen. Despite this most experts feel that Indian art is one of the safest investment options, provided one invests after a thorough research and looks at it as a long term asset.

Affordability is surely a relative term. Earlier where one looked at investing Rs 10,000 to 50,000 on a painting; prices have now climbed substantially higher and now involve more than five digits. A few years ago one could buy an average sized work of art with associated investment value for less than a lakh, whereas now one would have to spend at least Rs 2 lakhs and above to pick up an artist with some investment potential. In fact, those contemporary artists who are considered to be ‘safe’ in terms of their investment potential are available only above Rs 5 lakhs. Unfortunately, these high figures can be a major deterrent to those looking at buying an affordable range of art that goes beyond decorative purposes.

Mithu Sen
Galleries and dealers are therefore introducing new artists with attractive pricing to plug the resultant gap in the market. This also helps in broadening the buyer base. At the same time this bodes well for young artists and promising talent. Students, fresh graduates and artists with 2 to 3 years experience are in a better position than ever before to sell their artworks. The demand for affordable art ensures that gallery representatives scout actively for reasonably priced artists and these are then marketed aggressively to create a clientele.

(Published in Financial Times)

14 Apr 2008

Buying at an Auction - a few tips

Auctions of Indian modern and contemporary art are gaining in popularity with new auction houses coming up and with an overall increase in demand for Indian art.
The biggest advantage with buying at an auction is that an artwork that is rare or rates high on a collector’s wish list is likely to come up only at such events. And, therefore when a collector or an investor picks up such an artwork, prices are only going to appreciate in the future. This is not to say that auctions are only for the seasoned collector or investor. New buyers looking to add value to their investment portfolio may also consider picking up a few good pieces at an auction. When buying at an auction the credentials and the reputation of the auction house is a very important factor that needs to be considered.

Here are a few pointers for prospective buyers looking to bid at an auction:
Prospective buyers need to register themselves, either at an official website for an online auction or with the auction house at a physical auction prior to the event. Usually there is a detailed form that needs to be filled up.
The catalogue listing all details pertinent to the artworks (lots) and other sale details are available through the auction house.
One must carefully go through the catalogue and check the information regarding the artists, size, medium, provenance and the estimated prices.
Once you have short-listed the artworks you are interested in, you should validate them at the viewing, which is organized before the actual auction date. Generally the viewing is organised at one or more venues (it could even be different cities) and offers an opportunity for the prospective buyer to get a feel for the artwork (check its condition, etc).
Go though the fine print regarding service charges, taxes, commissions and other charges, if any.
Find out about the bidding procedure – it can be usually done in person, through a representative or over the phone, and on the Internet, in case of an online auction.

It is always advisable that you consider your budget and define your upper limit before you actually start bidding.

(Published in Financial Times)

7 Apr 2008

Is decorative art an investment?

With so much being written and discussed on art, it is no surprise that most people would like to own a few works of art. But, unfortunately with rising prises the gap between art lovers and artworks has significantly increased. Therefore, even if one covets a Subodh Gupta or a TV Santosh, very few may actually be able to afford them. It is no surprise then that people look for suitable alternatives or substitutes. And, this is where decorative art finds its niche. Paintings and assemblages are growing in popularity. Often these are made by hobby painters and other small time artists and although they may be aesthetically pleasing and coordinating well with the décor, these are unlikely to be a sound investment from a financial angle.

In fact, thanks to the interest in everything related to art, the decorative art industry is growing and thriving. They are quick to produce artworks that have a mass appeal - brightly coloured landscapes, so called abstracts and reproductions of famous paintings form some of the popular choices. Ornate, elaborate and ‘fancy’ frames help in enhancing the visual factor. One has to admit these fit well into the interior décor scheme and add an element of ‘art’ on the walls. Costing anywhere from Rs 5000 to up to even a lakh or more these have become an integral part of home and office décor and no one can deny their ‘trendy’ look.
The biggest advantage with such artwork is that it can be customized specifically to the client’s needs. Furnishings, wall colours, and other accents can be coordinated with the artwork to give a unique feel. The disadvantage, if it can be called that is that these can hardly ever be a financial investment and will therefore lack in resale value. But then as most buyers who opt for such works will be looking at it from a different perspective, it is a win-win situation for all.

(Published in Financial Times)

31 Mar 2008

Indian art market dominates

The year has begun with a bang for the Indian art market. All the major auctions held this year have seen exceptional sales, at times even higher than the estimated totals. And, remember we are only in March. Looking back at some of the statistics, at the recently held Christies auction M F Husain's ‘Battle of Ganga and Jamuna', a painting from the Hindu epic, fetched $1.6 million, setting a world record at the South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art sale. At this auction 87 percent of the lots were sold and fetched a total of $10,974,600.

Incidentally, M F Husain's untitled work went for a hammer price of $409,000, dominating the Sotheby's New York spring sales of Indian art. Prior to that, Saffronart's first contemporary art sale this year closed at a total sale value of over Rs 27 crores (US$ 7.15 million), which was well above its total higher estimate of Rs 19.56 crores (US$ 5.1 million). Emami Chisel Art - a Kolkata based auction house that held a physical-cum-online bidding - brought the hammer down on February 23 and their sales touched a total of Rs 24 crores. Osian’s ‘Indian Modern and Contemporary Art’ auction that was held in New Delhi on March 18 touched a total of Rs 30.28 crore (USD 7.5 million). The highlights of the evening included works by J Swaminathan’s ‘Mountain and Bird Series’ that crossed the Rs 2 crore mark and Tyeb Mehta’s ‘Untitled’ that fetched Rs 1.98 crore. This was Osian’s second auction in the year. While at the earlier Jan 19 auction Osian registered a total sale of Rs 32.18 crore.

If these figures are any indication then it does seem that the Indian art market is poised at a strategic juncture. It is very likely that the renewed confidence in Indian modern and contemporary art will see that the market not only stabilizes but also sees a resurgence of sorts. At the Dubai Art Fair too there has been a lot of interest in the Indian art section, and Jitish Kallat’s works in particular have captured the imagination of many art lovers. Therefore it is not only the modern artists who are seeing a renewed interest in their works but also the contemporary and upcoming artists who are finding many takers.

(Published in Financial Times)