Contemporary Art – an attractive investment option

The demand for contemporary Indian art has increased at the international level. Investing in art is becoming a more feasible and attractive option. Indian art is a great investment. Even if one never ends up reselling, it passes on from one generation to next and that itself is an investment similar to having jewelry or land.

There are many who buy art from a purely financial investment angle. They do not hesitate to invest Rs 25-50 lacs on a single work of art. When you are investing such huge sums of money it is important to do a thorough research before investing . You can consider investing in works of an artist who has had successful shows, has won awards, and has made some sales.

The art scene is looking up with more buyers than ever before. At the same time, the good thing is there is abundant talent around with numerous artists showing promise. There are so many contemporary artists in various price range that you have the opportunity to pick a work within your budget which also appeals to your sense of aesthetics.

How and where to start?

To invest in art it is important to have some knowledge about art trends, promising artists, and their market value. Paintings by new artists are likely to be priced within the reach of more buyers. Senior and well-established artists command a high market value. A painting done by a senior artist such as M F Husain is a very sound investment, but one has to be prepared to spend a huge sum.

Art can appreciate almost 100% if an artist gets a positive response to a show with huge sales. This ensures that he will be able to double his price at the next show.

Therefore, you must collate all available data and come to a decision based on hard facts – it should not be an emotional or a spontaneous decision.

You need to have sound judgment for art or else have a trusted adviser. While gallery owners will be able to guide you to an extent, it is sensible to check out from an independent knowledgeable art source.

Points that you can consider when zeroing in on an artist are :

  • The credentials of the gallery representing him : A tie-up with a good and established gallery with a national and international presence is a must. It ensures that the artist is promoted and represented well in the domestic market as well as abroad.
  • International exposure : Participation by the artist in international exhibitions, art fairs and other major art events ensures that the artist has sufficient worldwide exposure, and the investor has an opportunity to view feedback on how his works have been received – this offers some insight into his potential.
  • Price curve and history : A record of the artist’s price as it evolved over the years – is a good marker regarding the trend. You should also check the artist’s price at previous auctions . While this cannot be a benchmark , it is fairly indicative.

However, while investing in contemporary art, invest only after through research.

Excerpt from : The Economic Times : Investing in contemporary art