The Indians art at it again. No sooner is there some slight stability in the Contemporary Indian art market then they start talking about younger artists and prices that can go nowhere but up. Here’s the National in Dubai quoting some Indian dealers on the inevitability of price appreciation:
“The slowdown has definitely helped people realise the expansion of other artists,” says Rishiraj Sethi, the director of Aura Art Development. “When you invest in lesser-known artists, they are bound to appreciate in value. It’s like getting a fixed deposit in terms of art.” Sethi certainly knows how to work the market. He brought the artist Jayant Parikh’s work to Mumbai’s Four Seasons hotel and sold his canvases, which have watercolour and oil images of elephants and Indian streets, at competitive prices. Parikh is due to receive an award and extra publicity in the coming months, and Sethi hopes that people who have purchased from the gallery before that will see their paintings greatly increase in value.
This sort of market planning is in the minds of all gallery owners. Take Priyasri Patodia, an artist who started the Priyasri Art Gallery in 2003. “Other galleries were unwilling to invest in younger artists,” she says when asked why she decided to jump on board, “And the prices were so ridiculous.” She cut prices, offered younger exhibitors and pulled lithographs and prints into the limelight. The result? “There’s greater interest and they’re cheaper to buy.” By bringing new material into a previously saturated market, Patodia and a lot of other curators and gallerists are ensuring that prices for senior artists stay stable while the junior ones climb the ladder. “Not just any old masters appreciate,” says Patodia, “but the younger ones have a greater chance of increasing in value.” Sethi agrees with this: “There is a general flight towards safety and quality.” He draws a graph to illustrate his point, using the artist Subodh Gupta, who is currently selling at anywhere between Dh674,000 and Dh1.5 million. An artist such as Parikh, who is pricing his largest canvas at Dh30,500, grows slowly, but his graph will continue to rise just as steadily. Not many people will be able to afford Gupta’s works for much longer. In fact, the Saffron Art website points to this fact. Its recent auction fetched $209,875 (Dh771,000) for an untitled work by Gupta, whereas a similar piece sold previously for $1.5m (Dh5.51m). Obviously, people are reluctant to spend too much money, even to secure work by a well-known artist.
Bright Futures (The National)