Sunday, August 30, 2009

Encouraging auction results send positive signals

Despite the slump, you would only be disappointed, if you seek works of top artists like Atul Dodiya, Jagannath Panda, or Riyas Komu. And that’s exactly the irony of the situation! A large body of their work is unavailable in the market.

When the art market was at its peak, people were willing to pay a premium to acquire their works. Having paid a high price to acquire their works, galleries are not willing to sell them at lower prices. They are holding on to their large collections-acquired or commissioned-confident that the art market will recover sooner or later. And there are already signs of that happening.

Just consider the following piece of information:
• The Saffron Art online auction in June sold 72 percent of the lots on offer. About 54 percent of them crossed the higher estimate.

• The Saffronart sale of over 80 Modern & Contemporary Indian works by Akbar Padamsee, V S Gaitonde, Ram Kumar, F. N. Souza and Subodh Gupta fetched grossed a total of Rs 10.4 crores ($2.2 million).

• On the other hand, the Christie's South Asian Modern & Contemporary Art sale in London in London collected $ 2.43 million.

• At the Christie's auction, a 1960 painting done by Husain went for a whopping Rs 3.1 crore.

• The Sotheby's annual sale of Indian art held around the same time in London fetched Rs 16.33 crore, well above the pre-sale estimate of Rs 9.44 crore.

• The Sotheby's sale comprised a fine assortment of 86 lots by top modern and contemporary artists apart from rare and important miniatures from India.

• The Sotheby's sale witnessed a record of £3,73,250 (Rs 2.9 crores) for Jogen Chowdhury’s 'Day Dreaming', an ink and pastel work.

• Souza’s 'Orange Head' fetched three times the pre-sale estimate. It saw strong bidding from a host of buyers before getting snapped up by a private collector from the US for 403,250 pounds, almost three times the presale high estimate pegged at 80,000-120,000 pounds.

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