The Khaleej Times of the UAE looks at the market for Indian art with a wary and woozy eye. Here an anonymous dealer reveals some unpleasant news:
“There were injections of large amounts of money from Indian and foreign investors, international museums were getting into Indian art, art was seen as a status symbol, and there was a lot of hanky panky, all leading to artificial price rises. But this very fragile balance could only be maintained artificially, as long as there was surplus money in the market…”
And for a while there, there was plenty. Only last April a new gallery was opening in Mumbai every week, and sell-out openings were considered standard. Now, the reverse appears to be the case.
There is also concern over the fate of the numerous art funds that have sprung up over recent times, which encouraged smaller investors to put their money into a managed fund, that would purchase art works, betting on their future success at auction, to realise generous returns for stakeholders, With estimates of around $30 to $40million having been poured into these funds during the past four years, the stakes are high — and the likelihood of lucrative gains seems now, remote.
“Lots of people entered the market without adequate knowledge, to make a quick buck,” reflects the dealer. “Art funds today are a disaster waiting to explode. Everything stays covered up with false valuations till it is time to sell. And that time is nearing for a few of the older funds. Lets wait and see. I think a lot of people who are based in Dubai and have invested in such funds will be disappointed.”
The Rise and Fall of the Indian Art Scene (The Khaleej Times)