The global slowdown has had a rapid impact around the world, India is no exception, according to the Times of India. Its once raging art market now on the defensive:
Art dealers say that even top artists like M F Husain and F N Souza are selling for about 30%-40% less than what they cost a year ago. [ . . . ] Sunil Gautam, director, India Art Summit ’08, agrees. “There has been a considerable drop in the prices of artwork. Galleries, too, are ready to make deals with buyers. Artists also have brought down their prices,” he says.
World art markets were affected by the economic slowdown as early as Sept-Oct 2008. But the Indian canvas is feeling the impact only now. [ . . . ] Once a playground only for the super rich, it had gradually become a great avenue of investment even for the upper middle class. In the last few years, it grew at 30-35% annually making it the fourth most buoyant art market in the world. But the downturn has played spoilsport though the demand for rare works like Ravi Verma’s remains high.
Experts feel that the art market slump could last a couple of years. The prospect has forced artists to devise ways of coping with the situation. Well-known painter Anjolie Ela Menon says most artists are coping. “Some are possibly managing on their (considerable) savings and assets. But they will start feeling the pinch in 2009,” she says.
Galleries too are feeling the heat. Delhi-based Renu Modi’s gallery Espace has seen a 20% to 30% sales dip in the secondary market in the last few months.
Even with those declines, India is not backing off its commitment to art. The Times also tells of the opening of an expanded National Gallery:
Come Monday and the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) will throw its brand new wing open to art lovers. The new area will be 24,700 sq mts six times the current size. Two magnificent opening exhibitions the first tracing the historical evolution of modern from miniatures to contemporary art and the second a Nandlal Bose retrospective will be held from January 19 onwards. A Tyeb Mehta retrospective, an exhibition on the making of the new wing and one featuring contemporary art by younger artists will round up the list of shows to mark the celebrations. Sonia Gandhi will inaugurate the new wing on Monday.
Meltdown Hits Art World (Times of India)
With New Wing, NGMA to be Six Times Bigger (Times of India)