Saturday, March 16, 2013

‘Always buy what you genuinely like.’

M F Husain is among India’s better known artists, not just nationally but also globally. However, it's the more reclusive and lower-profile Tyeb Mehta whose work that fetches higher price tag in auctions. The simple reason: he was prolific so his works are easily available.

On the other hand, Tyeb Mehta created lesser paintings, albeit not intentionally. It's a case of rarity or lack of supply impacting the value of an artist’s oeuvre. Buyers will invariably spend for something rare or exceptional, according to, Christie's India director Menaka Kumari Shah.

During her recent talk, the art expert associated with the world’s top auction house touched upon several aspects related to process of collecting. She gave several tips to handy buyers and art lovers for building a good collection. She stressed specifically on the need of buying pieces of art based on one’s inclination instead of doing so for the sake of brand and prevailing market value.

A collector should buy what he or she really likes rather than choosing by an artist’s name. Her advice is: work out your budget, and buy the best pieces you can. During a talk on the topic of 'Collecting and connoisseurship in a global art market' in Chennai, she was quoted as saying: “If you indeed like an artist but can't afford his or her canvases, see if photographs or paper work suit your pocket.”

Shah has studied and also worked in both India and the UK, Incidentally, she is the erstwhile princess of Uttarakhand’s Tehri Garwal. During her presentation, she showed photographs and revealed useful details of some of biggest auctions by Christie's like the Baroda pearls, Elizabeth Taylor's collection, Lord Clive's pickings from India and French designer Yves Saint Laurent's estate. China and India are emerging markets Christie's is focusing on, she said, and suggested that aspiring collectors must visit galleries and museums. A great collection always begins with genuine passion for art.

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