Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Indian art market remains strong despite challenges

In spite of the prevailing negative economic trend, most experts had remained positive about the broader art scenario earlier this year and they have been proved right.

A number of artists from the country now show their works on a wider global level, including Bharti Kher, Rashid Rana, and Jitish Kallat. In another heartening development, the market has strongly reversed a prolonged negative trend, posting impressive results in the last 12 months, according to the latest Indian Auction Analysis. After six seasons of consecutive decline, it has showed the early signs of a possible revival.

India’s art market was hit after the 2008 economic collapse. Since then it has attempted to readjust and refocus itself. The earlier confidence survey for Indian art market in May 2012 by ArtTactic suggested that it would take at least two years to fully recover. The overall indicator was marginally down by 2 percent (a 9 percent decrease in confidence indicator for the Modern market, and a 24 percent fall for the Contemporary market. In fact, the round of auctions in March 2012 was quite disappointing. The market had a poor season, with sales volume of $10,438,532, 27 percent lower than March 2011.

An IANS news report last year had observed that  some ‘curious dichotomy’ had gripped the auction market, marked by a sudden boom in sales art at record prices even as global economies registered a slump. It had pointed to a new generation of buyers emerging on the scene, opening up their purse strings to acquire quality artworks. A quality consciousness seldom seen before is driving auction markets worldwide even as new segments of buyers - private archives and collectors - have emerged,” it mentioned.

The phenomenon was an outcome of the caution exercised by buyers after the price bubble burst, after the economic slowdown in 2008. The old masters, modernists as well as contemporary pioneers continued to command steady prices in the market still ruled by old masters like Tyeb Mehta, Raza, Souza, Manjit Bawa, Husain, Ram Kumar, Anjolie Ela Menon etc and legends like the Tagore brothers, Jamini Roy, and Nanadalal Bose, it rightfully stated.

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