Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Discovering value in art

If you want to position yourself as an investor, you must take into consideration some critical things. We have already considered a few of them. What else needs to be kept in mind? To start with, it need hardly be reemphasized that an investor must be well familiar with the artist / period/ theme/ series of a collection, that competitive pricing be monitored carefully, and that value not be under - or over-stated.

With the minimum base amount of Rs 20 lakh, what is that you can expect the art market to bring to the table? This is what you need to work out. As a market expert points out: “Too much weight is given to emerging artists, but it’s best to invest in artists with a proven track record of at least a few years, in a price range of, say, about Rs 5 lakh. You won’t get the best-in-class for even mid-range artists at that price, so you could choose to invest in their smaller works, or perhaps drawings and watercolors, usually priced lower.

Last but not the least, provenance, purchase documents and artist/ gallery validation are other extremely important elements to avoid being spooked by the fake market. We have already touched upon some pertinent points raised by columnist Kishore Singh of The Business Standard in one of his previous interesting essays.

Now that people are less exuberant and more realistic, the writer raises some pertinent questions regarding the temperament and tenets of a successful investor. Putting things in perspective, he had mentioned: “Everyone fancied oneself to be an art connoisseur, and everywhere one went, one heard about the immense investment value of art. This was before the art markets suffered last year. All of them wanted to know if the paintings they were planning to buy had investor credibility.”

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