Markert Analysis

THE GREAT INDIAN ART AFFAIR

Manoj Israni The month of September saw a great deal of activity both in India as well as in other countries for promotion of Indian Art, as well as the launch of the iPhone 5. Our 2 favorite International Auction houses kick started the market with Christies hosting its South Asian Modern & Contemporary Art. The hammer went down on a large Gaitonde from 1969 selling for 960,000 USD approximately, but what was more interesting was that on the same day Christies held the Indian & South East Asian Art auction, where the sale total exceeded that of the Modern & Contemporary Auction to reach a staggering figure of 7.6 million USD. It is interesting to note that the top 3 lots itself contributed more than 4.00 Million USD which were mainly due to the sale of Thangka’s and Sculptures. Sotheby’s couldn’t quite match up to the same. Then our very own Saffronart held its autumn auction with Tyeb Mehta’s “Falling Figure” hitting the 1.8 Million Dollar mark followed by Amrita Sher-gil’s work. The overall sale of Saffronart included works off contemporary artists that were switched off from our minds from the 2008 melt down. A good initiative on their part to try and revive this segment. I am sure we will see many more contemporary artists in catalogues in the future. Anyways,so much for numbers.

Now lets discuss Art : Over the last 2 months one could observe there is a great movement to revive the Indian Contemporary Art market at any price. Contemporary Art works have re-appeared in auction catalogues. The percentage number of lots have been small but they have definitely managed to creep their way into the catalogues. At the same time, good works of progressive artists are not easily available in the secondary market and if

they are available, they are snapped up by buyers who have a high degree of liquidity ( ie. writing cheques across the table). Lot of private deals have also taking place through distress sales from Collectors / Investors who would want to get rid of their Art (stock) due to the financial and political uncertainties in our country. Most of these works are being bought up by Collectors and Gallery owners in anticipation of another Art Boom.

Off to London : In the meanwhile, London held its regular “Frieze Art Fair” at Regents Park, which comprised of 175 galleries from across the world. ‘Frieze’ is a fair with all senses. It exists to sell work with lot of Entertainment. Now with Frieze masters, a new division of Frieze, one can enjoy the works of Warhol & Picasso at ease, a much smaller event then Frieze London without the scary door men.

Coming soon in the month of February 2013, India will be holding its 5th Edition of the Indian Art Fair (previously known as ‘The Indian Art Summit”) which would showcase the wide range of Modern & Contemporary Art by over 1000 artists and would be able to accommodate many more Indian galleries than the International Art Fairs can.

The Indian Art Fair would kick off from 1st February 2013. Before that there will be another round of auctions in December 2012 both domestically as well as internationally which will further give us an idea as to where we the Indian Art Market is heading. By that time Apple’s new iPad Mini with its new IO6 platform would have hit the Indian Market. I wonder between these two events which would be more interesting?

Manoj Israni
Managing Director
Blue Cross Laboratories Ltd

Back