Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Is India becoming a focus point for the international art market?

Indian art is collected primarily by western art collectors/ institutions and at local level, Peter Sumner, the Indian art specialist at Phillips de Pury, had rightly observed. He stated: “There are talented and young artists who have strongly established themselves on the international art scene. Their appeal lies in their unique ability to document the socio-economic changes in the modern ‘globalized' India.”

For example, in ‘Untitled Eclipse' put up for sale at BRIC sales, Jitish Kallat created a billboard sized canvas reminiscent of the ad billboards in the major Indian cities. The orange sunrays offered the backdrop to smiling children, to point out the way to a bright future for India's new generation. Though malnourished, their smiles betray a darker existence, a reality in which they are unlikely to benefit from the social and economic progress, only widening schism between the rich and poor.

On the other hand, Subodh Gupta in his work transforms everyday objects into recognizable trademarks, which reflect the great changes taking place in India today. It’s this pointed social commentary collectors and buyers identify with, relate to and recognize. Apparently, the market is now getting more discerning. Masterpieces and quality works have grown in demand, reaching high values thanks to the growing affluent Indian middle class. There is a better appreciation of art among new breed of collectors. In effect, buyers are looking to acquire works more from a collection point of view than sheer investment purpose.

Explaining the extent to which the market for contemporary Indian art has grown and whether it has lived up to expectations and the hype, Peter Sumner had revealed: "After large adjustments in the market place during 2009 India is once again becoming a focus point for the international art market — and is continuing to live up to the expectations. Confidence in long-term sustained growth is the dominant sentiment in the contemporary Indian art market. Buying is from India, Europe, the UK, and the U.S. with corporate institutions also playing their part within the context of contemporary Indian art sales.”

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