The Times of India runs a story on the state of the Indian art market. Except for the names of the artists, it is eerily similar to just about every other story on the art market from a variety of other countries.
“Collectors will now get steady prices from and also a fair amount of time to decide what they want to buy. As a gallerist, I’m enjoying the pace now as opposed to the frenzy that was the art world a few months ago,” says Delhi-based Arun Vadehra. Adds Chemould Art Gallery’s Shireen Gandhy, “It’s a time for the real collector — who thought he had missed something because the race was so ridiculous or the price so obnoxious — to fill the gaps in the collection or chase his dream piece of art that was unattainable in the past few years.”
Has the booming desi art market actually seen a revision in prices? Yes, say most. “The prices of Indian art have come down by 20 to 30 per cent. Of course, in real terms while art prices have come down, the prices of the collector’s works have also significantly shifted,” says Gandhy. According to Yamini Mehta, head of modern and contemporary Indian art for Christie’s, “Indian art prices have been affected as part of a larger impact on luxury items. This means collectors are more discerning and less speculative. So while some works may be 25-30 per cent less from last year’s prices, other works or artists are stable.” [ . . . ]
Neville Tuli, founder-chairman, Osian’s, believes that new buyers and investors will take a position depending on whether they want to focus on this investment in the medium/long run and whether they can access/grab the opportunities if the liquidity exists. “As a lover and collector of art, you can buy anything that pleases the eye and heart but then do not expect any financial security or returns if you break the rules of historical significance. High-quality art is a very serious global asset rooted in a great knowledge base, it is not to be flirted with as only an ,” he says. Adds Gandhy, “Investors who collected mainly with the view of buying and selling will be the worst off in such a market. If they bought only to sell, and they did not do it when the time was `right’ it will be a long haul before prices recover again.”[ . . . ]
“However, in the long term this is an exceptionally exciting time for Indian art and its global prospects. There are wonderful opportunities to buy strong works that are undervalued if one compares the relative prices within the global art market for artists of similar stature and maturity. We have great confidence in the scope for the Indian art market. The rest of the world is extremely positive about developments for the art scene in India,” says Christie’s Yamini Mehta.[ . . . ]
Christie’s Mehta believes one general trend during uncertainty is that collectors tend to feel more comfortable with artists who have a long standing career/track-record, and are less willing to speculate highly on younger contemporary works. “It would be interesting to see how this affects the local market for Husain vs Subodh Gupta,” she says.
Art for Art’s Sake . . . . Again (Times of India)