Showing posts with label art investment auction Indian art Tyeb Mehta CF John TM Azis art collectors asian art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label art investment auction Indian art Tyeb Mehta CF John TM Azis art collectors asian art. Show all posts

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Masters and the economics of art

When Syed Haider Raza moved home from Paris to Delhi last December, it was a monumental decision for him. Personally, it meant the artist was giving up a city that had made him an internationally recognised artist.

Professionally, the only surviving member of the four top-selling masters of modern Indian art was shifting back to the land of his inspiration at a time when the other great of this quartet, MF Husain (1915-2011 ), had quit the country due to controversies.

Art watchers know well that any movement in the lives of Husain and Raza always came loaded with possibilities as the two, along with FN Souza (1924-2002 ) and Tyeb Mehta (1925-2009 ), commanded - and continue to command - 50-60 per cent of the total Indian art market.

Though there is no established monitor for Indian art - with the field relying mostly on independent estimates by various agencies - a majority of the experts agrees that the Big Four hold more than half of the total market. The market itself is valued at anywhere from $100 million to $ 400 million (roughly Rs 1000-1600 crore).

This is, however, a finite market, as Husain, Souza and Mehta have passed away. Mehta, anyway, was not a prolific painter and created only about 200 canvases in his lifetime though it was his 'Mahishasura' that had first crossed the million dollar mark when it fetched $1.54 million at a Christie's auction in September 2005. Husain and Souza were productive but the frequency with which their canvases will come into the market will depend on the collectors who hold them.

True to form, in less than a year after his shift from Paris, Raza mounted an exhibition of his latest works, 'Punaraagaman' (Return), in Delhi recently. Given the gestation period that each painting has to go through before it becomes hot property, the paintings may not immediately set the auction world afire. But they are important in a market that is beginning to expand beyond Mumbai, Delhi and overseas where 90 per cent of it is located.

Ashish Anand of Delhi Art Gallery, who had hosted the most ambitious show of the Progressive Artists earlier this year (Souza, Husain and Raza were founder members of this group and had blazed a trail by giving an Indian identity to modern art), says, "An established collector would aim for paintings from Raza's best phase from the past. But for those who have just got acquainted with art and want to possess one of the top signatures, these new paintings are important as older Raza paintings don't come up easily in the market. That's significant for Indian market if it wants to expand."

The Indian art market that has come under sharp focus ever since it started growing rapidly in the early years of the last decade is highly lopsided - the collector base is of just about 500, largely located in two cities. That's ridiculous if it wants to make a dent internationally like China has done. The Chinese art market is 40 times that of India's.

If the market has to grow, it will soon have to expand base to newer territories. Art watchers hope that as Tier II and III cities acquire more money power, art will find takers beyond Mumbai and Delhi. Sapna Kar of the India Art Collective initiative, whose online art fair, the first in the country, concluded last evening, says, "I have received queries from Hyderabad, Surat and Gaya. The database of Indian collectors is not more than 500 in number. How much art will an individual consume? A big chunk of the future of Indian art lies in smaller cities where the people have the money to buy art but no exposure yet." Menaka Kumar-Shah, the Mumbai-based head of New York auction house Christies, cites the example of collectors in Coimbatore who are beginning to set up art institutions.

Another big push that Indian art would soon need is in the form of non-Indian foreign buyers. Dr Hugo Weihe, who heads the Indian and Southeast Asian Art department at Christies, New York, says, "At one of our sales last year, a Husain canvas was picked up by a non-Indian American buyer for $1 million plus, and there is a lot of interest in Indian art by Chinese and Indonesian buyers at our ongoing Hong Kong sales. This curiosity will help Indian market to grow."
But even as the market grows and embraces new collectors, a demand for canvases by the big four continues to remain high because anybody with enough money to buy top-end art wants to own a Husain, a Raza, a Souza or a Mehta. The enduring popularity of the super sellers had even survived the recession with aplomb, taking a dip initially but recovering quickly. The November 2011 report on the state of the Indian art market by London-based analyst ArtTactic also says market experts remained strongly positive about modern Indian art though the overall ArtTactic Indian Art Market Confidence Indicator was down by 28 per cent from April 2011 due to a drop in confidence in the Indian economy by 69 per cent.

Maithili Parekh, director, Sotheby's India, says that it is the historicity of modern masters - a term that would also include, besides the top four, artists like Jamini Roy, the Tagores, VS Gaitonde, Akbar Padamsee, Ram Kumar and a few others - that makes them so attractive. "They forged a new identity for Indian art with their path-breaking work when a newly independent India was seeking its own identity. They captured the strong political and social influences of the time beautifully," says Parekh. Arun Vadehra, Christie's consultant in India who also heads the Delhi-based Vadehra Art Gallery (and host of Raza's latest exhibition), adds that buying a canvas by a top-end modern master is like buying "a piece of history."

As Published in the Times of India

Profile of S.H Raza

Monday, November 15, 2010

Affordable Art Market Picks UP

Untitled, R.B.Murari, 2010 -
coutresty Monsoon Canvas

The art market has had a spate of activities in the recent past with a lot more slated to happen in the next few months. Despite the increase in the number of events and exhibitions, sales in the primary market are yet to reach the levels seen prior to 2009.
However, there are indications that there is a rise in sales of art which can probably be categorised as 'affordable' and is in the range of Rs 20,000 to Rs 75,000. This segment is probably expanding and benefiting the most. Artworks by young contemporary artists, especially those who have created a niche for themselves in the last few years and have also sustained themselves through the period of recession, continues to find buyers.
This segment, although priced higher, is sustaining itself thanks to a loyal buyer base, and it is clear that the artists benefiting the most are those who have continued to focus on quality and have been less prolific than others. A recent survey of confidence levels in the art market which based its analysis on results from secondary sales and auction reports indicates that the strength shown earlier in the year was unable to sustain in the recent months.
According to the report, 'The Indian auction sales season failed to meet market expectations. The total auction value for modern and contemporary Indian art at Sotheby's, Christie's and Saffronart came in 20 percent below the low presale estimate'.
However, it goes on to clarify that a probable cause for this could be 'over-ambitious valuations' and 'lack of quality works' which may have put off buyers. But, the overall prognosis suggests that the market is levelling out after a period of recovery. Interestingly, although there is a marginal dip in the positive sentiment in the market, the report suggests a promising short-term outlook in the next six months, although the pace is likely to be slow.
Economic Times online 15 November 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Seminal Masterpiece by Syed Haider Raza Leads Christie's Sale

Syed Haider Raza (b.1922), "Saurashtra", 1983. Estimate: £1.3 million-1.8 million. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010.

LONDON.- On 10 June, the day after Christie’s unprecedented sale of art works selected from the Estate of Francis Newton Souza, the momentum continues with Christie’s South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art auction. The renewed confidence in the market for this category was signalled by the success of the New York sale in March, which realised $8.9 million and was 95% sold by value, with many new private collectors bidding. The international appeal of this field continues to grow, with participation from buyers in Singapore, Hong Kong, U.A.E, the United States and Europe. The London sale is led by Saurashtra, 1983, a seminal masterpiece by Syed Haider Raza (b.1922) (estimate: £1.3 million-1.8 million), which is the most valuable modern Indian work of art ever offered at auction. This auction presents an exhilarating array of important works from private collections, with excellent provenance by the leading Indian and Pakistani artists of 20th and 21st century. Featuring the celebrated masters of the Progressive Artists Group, through to the biggest names in contemporary art, attractive estimates cross the spectrum of artists, styles and media with estimates ranging from £1,000 to £1.8 million. The sale is expected to realise in excess of £4 million. Please see the separate press release for details on the sale of art works selected from the Estate of Francis Newton Souza.

Yamini Mehta, Christie’s Senior Specialist, Director, South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art, London: “The global art market is receptive to the best. As international collectors converge in London this June prior to heading to Art Basel, where an increased number of South Asian Art will be on view this year, we are thrilled to be offering iconic works by the masters as well as important contemporary works, including examples by Pakistani artists. It is important that Christie’s, as well as galleries, art fairs and institutions, continue - as they do - to broaden concepts of what constitutes Sub-Continental art.”


The top lot of the sale is the most valuable modern Indian art work ever to be offered at auction: Syed Haider Raza’s Saurashtra, 1983, (estimate: £1.3 million-1.8 million), from a Private French Collector who acquired it directly from the artist, illustrated above. This large work (78¾ x 78¾ in. / 200 x 200 cm.), by one of India's leading modern masters, belongs to a key period in Raza's career when his artistic path brought him full circle and he began to integrate vital elements of his Indian childhood and cultural heritage into his paintings. Combining powerful and expressive brushstrokes with a very rich palette, Saurashtra provides a transitional bridge into his structured geometric works which are characteristic of his most recent body of paintings. Exploring landscape and nature; gesture and expression; geometry and spiritualism, this painting is one of Raza's most ambitious works to date. This is a remarkable opportunity for collectors and institutions around the world.

Further Modern Highlights:

• Untitled (Arjuna and Krishna), circa 1980s, by Maqbool Fida Husain (b.1915) (estimate: £500,000-700,000) which portrays the heroes of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. The strong influence of classical Indian painting and sculptural traditions upon Husain is evident in this work, which exemplifies the characteristic energy of Husain’s canvases.

• Falling Bird, 1999 is a tour de force by Tyeb Mehta (1925 -2009), one of India's greatest Modernist masters (estimate: £400,000-600,000). Having executed only a relatively small body of work, it is very rare that such an important example comes to auction. With mythological thematic roots, this work skilfully combines concept, line, colour and composition.

• Untitled (Gulammohammed Sheikh with Tom Hancock), circa 1970s by Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2004) (estimate: £100,000-150,000). Gulammohammed Sheikh was Khakhar’s lifelong friend; Tom Hancock (1930-2006), a British architect who taught at Baroda during the seventies and designed the Battersea Peace Pagoda in London, also became part of the artist’s circle. Drawing inspiration from the West and India, this painting stylistically alludes to early Italian painting and Bengali pata painting from Kalighat, but also imbues the spirit of Henri Rousseau and David Hockney.

Contemporary Works:

The strong array of contemporary art featured provides collectors with an opportunity to acquire significant works by some of the best known South Asian practitioners today. Subodh Gupta is one of India's leading contemporary artists, whose powerful vocabulary is firmly rooted in the vernacular of everyday India. Chimta, 2003, (estimate: £200,000-300,000), transforms hundreds of stainless steel tongs or 'chimta' - a common Indian kitchen staple used for handling chapatti and naan bread - into a metallic explosion of wonder. Offered from a private European collection, this semi-globed constellation continues the legacy of Duchamp’s ready-mades whilst simultaneously revealing the sensuous splendour of familiar objects, as if they are precious or luxurious commodities. Gupta stirs questions about the dramatic changes and shifts that accompany India's strengthening economy and its effect on the country's deeply spiritual and ancient culture.

Further Contemporary Highlights:

• Untitled by Ravinder Reddy (b.1956) (estimate: £90,000-120,000), who contemporises traditional Indian goddesses, whilst referencing Jeff Koons and playing with the American concept of "super-sizing." Through such transformations and re-appropriations of ancient Indian temple sculpture, the artist is possibly commenting on how India's religious and cultural histories are being diluted and Westernised by the surge of ‘progress.’

• Dis-location 3, 2007, by Rashid Rana (b. 1968) illustrated left (estimate: £60,000-80,000) who charts a new course with his ‘Dis-location’ series by using one location photographed over a duration of twenty four hours to create the large composite image of the same location. Disorienting the viewer’s sense of time and place, the 'pixels' of the work illustrate the frenetic nature of busy street life in contemporary Lahore, whilst the overall image possesses the charm of a historical photograph.

As printed in, 2nd June 2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Get ready to pay Rs 100 cr for a single work of art

S.G Vasudev, courtesy Monsoon Canvas

As confidence for Indian modern art returns, prices will rise in the same proportion as they did in the last decade.
What are we to make of the sale of just two artworks at auctions this year equalling the size of the entire Indian market? Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust last week became the world’s highest-priced artwork when it was auctioned by Christie’s for Rs 478 crore, beating Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture Walking Man I that was auctioned earlier in the year by Sotheby’s for Rs 468 crore. That the Indian art market is terribly undervalued hardly needs reiterating. But when it fell from Rs 1,500 crore in 2008 to about Rs 800-900 crore currently, the signals it sent out were not just about the low value attached to Indian artists but, more importantly, about the shortage of good art in the market.

In part, this is because what we refer to as “modern art” has had a very short history in India, with even fewer artists working in that style. How many of Raja Ravi Varma’s co-painters can we name? Or, for that matter, who were Amrita Sher-Gil’s contemporaries? Because “studios” hired painters to paint in the style that was then fashionable, works by even talented artists were attributed to an ambiguous “Anonymous” identity. Almost no research has been undertaken to identify who these artists were.

Since the forties, we have seen more works by more artists, but as compared to Western countries, the numbers have been low (because there were fewer patrons, perhaps — the “modern school did not appeal to everyone in India nurtured on a tradition of more sentimental aesthetics), and recognition for them even lower. A number of artists who worked through the fifties, sixties and seventies would have remained for all purposes unknown, had not the heady pursuit of scarce artworks and a booming art market in the last decade led to their resurrection from a state of near-anonymity.

High disposable incomes, the opening of Indian markets and an appreciation of things Indian drove up the prices of Indian art on a combination of availability, quality and hype. Hysteria marked the new benchmarks that auctions now created. The first painting to cross the Rs 1 crore standard and each successive crore were excitedly reported and an increasing number of artists were welcomed to the “crore club”. For a while it appeared that art for art’s sake had been overtaken by art for investment’s sake.

How the art market would have continued if it hadn’t been reined in by recession is now in the domain of speculation. But this much we do recognise: that the art market had over-heated not because of the top prices paid to a few, rare quality artworks but because the vast and greedy contemporary market had been consumed by a lust for easy money. Unproven artists were demanding and getting unreasonable valuations, mediocre art was over-priced, and there seemed no precedents any more to valuations.

But a thumbs-up to its recovery comes from art market research firm Art Tactic’s report that shows confidence in the Indian modern art going up 28 per cent since October 2009. On its scale of one to 10, Indian modern art is now placed at 6.9, not just its highest ever posted by the London-based firm, but up from 4.9 just six months earlier.

The report is bound to bring speculators back into the Indian art market, lured by the prices and high confidence in, particularly, modern art — the gap between modern and contemporary art, according to the report, has widened to 51 per cent. But some common sense should help the collector in arriving at the “right” price. If we accept that for a country of India’s size, there were very few painters to begin with, and then accept the global average that only 10 per cent of an artist’s work can be considered of exceptional quality, then the amount of such art is very limited and getting scarcer as it ends up in the hands of intuitions, or collections, that are unlikely to re-sell.

And it is works of such quality that will do for prices in the new decade what they did in the last decade, something that investors with their short-term concerns would do well not to overlook. India’s highest prices for art were achieved in 2008, true, but this must be said: in the decade 2001 to 2010, the highest prices achieved moved from Rs 10 lakh to well above Rs 10 crore. In the coming decade, the same quality of artworks will see the price move from Rs 10 crore to — yes, hold your breath! — Rs 100 crore.

Even at that price, a Tyeb Mehta or F N Souza, an S H Raza or M F Husain will still be a fourth or fifth of Picasso’s current value, but we can save the catching up for the next decade that will follow.

These views are personal and do not reflect those of the organisation with which the writer is associated

Article by Kishore Singh as printed in Business Standard, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Indian art – an alternative investment option

Just barely recovering from the stock market fiasco, investors are beginning to rethink the logic of diversification of their portfolio. Many investment advisors are turning to Indian art as an emerging alternative investment option.

Although the concept of investing in art is relatively new in India, art has always been a viable investment option in the west. Art investment in India is gaining momentum with the works of M.F Husain, Tyeb Mehta and F.N Souza being lapped up by international collectors. FN Souza’s work ‘the Birth’ sold for $2.3 million, setting records in valuing Indian art. MF Husain and SH Raza are currently valued anywhere from $200,000 to $1 million. Industry experts expect prices to shoot up to between $5 million to $10 million in the next few years. The growth in Indian contemporary art also reflects the same trend. The prices of works of several famous artists like CF John, TM Azis, Yusuf Arakkal, Atul Dodiya have increased considerably since Indian art reached the international stage.

The potential for further rapid growth of the Indian art market makes it a viable investment alternative. For example, the ET art index (Art index by the Economic times) has grown phenomenally from just 116.53 points in 2000 to 3106.47 in September 2008. According to Arttatic, an independent research firm, the Indian art market in 2008 was valued at approximately $70 million from the $40 -$50 million level in 2007.

Let’s take a look at the top 3 reasons for the growth in the Indian art market which would serve as the foundation for art becoming an alternative investment option.

The increase in demand for Asian (Indian) art by international collectors

  • Auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s realizing the potential of Asian art, opened up the international art market to Asian art. The results from the recent auctions at Sotheby’s, Christies and Saffronart have been encouraging, with a total of almost $7.7 million worth of art being sold in the summer sales 2009.

  • A new generation of art collectors from emerging economies, with their rising income levels, has created a market for Asian art internationally. The nouveau collectors relate more to art from their own cultural background which is especially true in the case of NRIs (Non-Resident Indians)

  • The Indian art market also benefited from the recent boom which increased the disposable income in the economy and bought with it slow but steadily growing group of art aficionados. Interestingly art auctions in India have been rising steadily starting with only 3 auctions in 2003, to 14 auctions in 2005 and approx 40 auctions in 2008.

The rise of an organized art market for Indian art

  • With the advent of international Auction houses, there has been a standardized approach to valuation of art, promotion and sale of Indian art. These guidelines will enable the efficient and consistent functioning of the art market in India.

  • There has been a growth in the secondary market for art with a number of art galleries, art advisors, auction houses (India’s own Saffron Art) and corporate collections established within the past decade. The secondary market provides a platform for trading in art.

Increase in liquidity of Art as a medium of investment

  • Liquidity is a prime factor in decision making for any form of investment. Over the years, liquidity in the Indian art market has increased considerably with a number of financial institutions introducing Art investment services in the form of art advisory or art funds. Religare, Yes Bank and Bajaj Capital are some of the traditional investment houses that have begun offering art as an alternative.

  • There also a number of art funds set up as an investment vehicle like Osian’s Art Fund, Crayon Capital, Yatra Art Fund etc. The Osian's Art Fund, worth over Rs 100 crore, oversubscribed within a few days of opening allotment.

  • Art Summits like India Art Summit 2009 in New Delhi and the Art Expo 2009 in Mumbai, play the role of developing the art market by creating a venue for promoting Indian art.

  • Indices like the ET art index and the involvement of SEBI (Securities Exchange Bureau of India) has given art additional credibility and liquidity it needs.

The Indian art market is currently in a very nascent phase, where the stage has been set for enormous growth. The increase in activity from the various players could take this market much higher than predicted. All said, one should however be careful to take professional advice before plunging into the art market.