Indian Art Market Hopeful in Advance of Summit

A recent report syndicated on MSN News summarizes the state of the Indian art market:

Art experts are of the opinion that though the market is on a path to recovery after the slowdown due to the growing Indian economy and the global art market picking up, it’s still a small group of key artists such as Souza, Raza, Tyeb Mehta, Gaitonde and Husain that find takers. The trend is similar to what was observed in 2008, when the global economic meltdown took art down too, hitting the prices of Indian art by more than 40%.

Anders Petterson, founder and managing director, ArtTactic Ltd (a London-based research house on the art market), believes that this trend will continue in 2011 as well. While the Indian auction market saw a slower growth rate in the second half of 2010, Petterson believes that if economic conditions remain favourable, “the Indian art market will again pick up momentum in 2011, largely driven by the blue-chip modern Indian art market. Also, parts of the Indian contemporary market are likely to start to see a quicker recovery.” [...]

[T]he modern Indian art market staged a strong comeback in 2010, with total auction value increasing by 115% from 2009, and also exceeding the 2008 total by 16.2%. The contemporary Indian art market continues to tread water, and though total auction value has increased from $2.7 million in 2009 to $6.97 million during 2010, it is still 75% below what it achieved in 2008.

[...] Arun Vadehra of Delhi-based Vadehra Art Gallery calls the Indian art market a market of uniques and foresees a growth of 25-30 % in the auction market of Indian art in 2011.

Canvas of Global Hues (MSN News)

India's Venice Biennale Line Up Takes Shape

The Wall Street Journal’s Scene Asia blog spoke to Ranjit Hoskote about his picks for India’s first-ever Venice Biennale that opens in early June:

The goal of the India pavilion, said Mr. Hoskote, is to “critique the idea of the nation-state as something unitary or territorial.” The 42-year-old independent curator, critic and poet recently has divided his time between India, Germany and the Netherlands.

His lineup will include Zarina Hashmi, a veteran printmaker, long based in New York, whose minimalist works tend to explore spatial boundaries. Kerala-born artist Gigi Scaria, now based in Delhi, poses questions about displacement and class prejudice in his installations, videos and photography. Then there’s Praneet Soi, who divides his time between Calcutta and Amsterdam and produces politically charged paintings and sculptures on war and other global issues.

Mr. Hoskote has also picked talent from Assam in India’s often-neglected northeast region to represent the country in Venice. The Desire Machine Collective runs an alternative art space on a ferry and experiments with such works as a “sound map” inspired by a sacred forest.

India Heads to the Venice Biennale (Scene Asia/Wall Street Journal)

India Buys the World

The Financial Times talked to Neha Kirpal about what Indian collectors want to buy. She says they’re expressing India’s new global power:

“The global names are what people are aspiring for and what they can very well afford,” Kirpal says.

Because of the appetite among Indian collectors to buy works of top international blue-chip artists, she says galleries are bringing in smaller (perhaps lower value) works of the top international artists. Local collectors include the Ambani family’s Harmony Art Foundation, Malvinder Singh, formerly chief executive of pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy, and Kiran Nadar, wife of Shiv Nadar who controls IT company HCL. Big buyers, such as businessmen Mukesh and Anil Ambani, are taking a greater interest in art, as their own travels take them to some of the world’s best known galleries and museums in Europe and the US.

“For the large business families, it’s become important to understand and buy the very best of what’s out there in the world,” says Kirpal. “What’s happening in the arts scene reflects what is happening in business. We are slowly going global.”

India’s Art Summit (Financial Times)

Can India's Younger Artists Drive the Market?

There are few commentators with experience, acuity and authority in the Indian art market greater than the Business Standard’s Kishore Singh. But even he is hard pressed to divine the meaning of Arpita Singh’s record-setting price in Saffronart’s recent Winter auction. Though Arpita Singh got much of the press surrounding the sale, Kishore Singh has seen the false dawn before as a few bright sales in an artist’s market fail to turn into a flame.

What does this say about the state of the markets but that the younger contemporaries who were dealt a crippling blow on account of the recession have yet to recover from its severity?

With few exceptions (N S Harsha managed Rs 46 lakh for his Running around the Nectars of Time, Shibu Natesan’s Jha-Love fetched Rs 49.7 lakh, Rameshwar Broota’s characteristic Untitled sold for Rs 32 lakh against their counterparts Ram Kumar’s Untitled,Rs 40 lakh, Jehangir Sabavala’s The Thundercloud, Rs 36 lakh, and N S Bendre’s Untitled, Rs 39 lakh), the valuations for Atul and Anju Dodiya, Jitish Kallat, Sudhir Patwardhan and T V Santhosh were more modest than extraordinary. In part, this is because collectors who’d put their wealth behind the contemporaries and burned their fingers during the economic meltdown are now not trusting themselves too far beyond the tested Souza & Co.

Master Class (Business Standard)

Saffronart’s Minal Vazirani

Art Market Monitor spoke with Minal Vazirani just before Saffronart’s Winter Auction. The sale performed nicely within expectations capping off a year where the Indian art market doubled in volume from 2009 and finished Saffronart’s first decade with a strong showing.

:http://www.artmarketmonitor.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Minal-Vazirani-Dec.-2010.mp3|titles=Minal (click on the player to listen)

Ms. Vazirani discusses the changing constituency of Indian art buyers, Saffronart’s success as an online auction house and what she sees as the coming scarcity in works by Indian Modernists.

Sotheby's South Asian (Preview)

This Thursday is Sotheby’s South Asian sale which is becoming the highlight of the Asia Week sales:

The sale presents 112 works dating from 18th century miniatures to paintings and sculpture from some of the leading names in Indian modern and contemporary art. Among the highlights is Cinq Sens (Five Senses), by MF Husain which was previously in the collection of Roberto Rossellini; it is the leading painting in an exceptional group of 16 works by the artist. The sale also includes a strong group of works by artists from Pakistan such as Sadequain, important paintings by the leading Modern Indian painters such as FN Souza, SH Raza, Akbar Padamsee, and Tyeb Mehta and a number of works by contemporary artists. Overall the auction is expected to fetch $6/8.8 million.*