India Art Fair Reports Mixed Sales Amid Slow Revival of South Asian Market

Lekha Poddar

There’s been little in the way of sales information coming out of the annual Indian Art Fair this year. Georgina Adam gathers what she can in the Financial Times:

According to the organisers, sales were buoyant, although on the ground reports were
more nuanced. For some exhibitors, it was “their best year ever”. London’s Grosvenor Gallery scored well with 60 sales, including many by local artist Olivia Fraser, at prices between £500 (prints) and £8,000. This neatly avoided a big headache for international galleries, namely the 15 per cent duty on imported art – and the hassle the exhibitors face when reclaiming the levy on unsold works. Other galleries were as happy, although sales were not at a high price level. Leading local collector Lekha Poddar bought a work by Hajra Waheed at Experimenter of Kolkata; the other big collector Kiran Nadar, who also has founded a private museum, made a flurry of acquisitions.

Others were disappointed: Lelong of Paris, despite its solo show of Nalini Malani, also featured at the Nadar museum, said business was average. The quality of many of the offerings did not please everyone but Girish Shahane, artistic director for next year’s edition, was sanguine. “The art fair can’t run ahead of its market,” he said. “The buyers here are at a particular stage, we will gradually draw in our audience.” Certainly, with reported attendance of almost 100,000, the fair attracted an enthusiastic number of visitors.

The Art Market: Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art auction scores £163.5m (Financial Times)

Indian Art Fair Final Sales Assessment

Georgina Adam has these sales from Delhi:

  • Continua sold a Daniel Buren for €55,000.
  • Delhi Art Gallery: Laxma Goud’s Untitled, 1973, at $250,000.
  • Hauser & Wirth: a Bharti Kher purple bindi painting, I changed my mind, 2011, tagged at $250,000
  • Lisson: photographs of Marina Abramovic amongst pots and pans […] priced at €25,000-€160,000, with one sold at €70,000 on the first day.

Neha Kirpal doesn’t have it easy when trying to quantify the success of her fair. First there’s the attendance issue. The fair was moved to another location this year in part to improve the quality of attendance. So reducing the crowds by one third to 80,000 visitors was seen as a key success.

The India Art Fair also needs to show it’s constituency—the art galleries who pay for booths—that it can deliver the kinds of visitors who will buy art, according to India Today:

almost 80 per cent of the galleries sold more than one artwork, going up to as much as 14 works being sold by a single gallery. The stalls did an average business of between 55,000 and 60 lakh per piece, with the higher end of that spectrum settling at Rs. 3 crore  [roughly $1000 to $600k]. While Ravinder Reddy woman sculptures and the Indian modern masters were quick to go, it was photography, videos and installations by emerging artists that did exceptionally well this year, even amongst the traditional collector base.

India Art Fair Looks Poised to Join the Big League (The Art Newspaper)

India Art Fair Hosts Huge Crowds on Final Day (India Today)

India Art Fair, A Few More Sales

Smattering of sales from the India Art Fair via the Economist:
  • Hauser & Wirth reportedly sold a small neon sign by Creed that says “Love”, priced at $85,000, and a painting by Subodh Gupta, a leading Indian contemporary artist, for $263,000.
  • Other Criteria reported several sales of Damien Hirst’s silkscreened Psalm prints with diamond dust, which come in runs of 50 and are priced at £3,500 apiece.
  • The Mumbai-based Sakshi Gallery has been negotiating to sell a six-foot-long buffalo-shaped work by Valay Shende, an Indian artist, priced at $40,000. The work is a tribute to the impoverished farmers who have committed suicide in central India in recent years, and consists of thousands of photo-transfers of the farmers’ faces on button-sized steel discs.

A Change Is GonnaCome (Economist)

India Art Fair 2012 Sales

Georgina Adam has sales from the India Art Fair:

  • Among buyers on the first day were the leading Dhaka-based collectors Rajeeb and Nadia Samdani, who bought a Rashid Rana from Lisson and were tempted by a Hirst butterfly piece at White Cube.
  • Tasveer Gallery was very successful with images of animals in Indian palaces by Karen Knorr, priced from €6,000-€14,500, all going to private Indian collectors.

The Art Market: All New in Delhi (Financial Times)

Hirst Skull Sells in India

There’s not a lot of sales info coming out of the India Art Fair but a few hints are filtering through the media. Neha Kirpal spoke to Overseas Indian while others hinted that a Hirst Skull was bought:

She said galleries from Spain and Britain like the Lisson Gallery found buyers on the first day Wednesday.

An insider divulged that a “sculpted skull by Damien Hirst was purchased by an Indian collector” while leading Kolkata-based art auctioneer Vikram Bachhawat made enquiries about another.

“I want to buy a Damien Hirst but I am trying to figure out the modalities. The space and the international collection are great,” Bachhawat said.

Where Indian Art Meets Global Creativity (Overseas Indian)