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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Good Buy

The season of art auctions is here again,with ways to beat the recession blues. Art patrons are once again buying art,since the prices are plummeting.

Written by Georgina Maddox |
March 17, 2009 10:21:53 pm

Auction houses woo buyers with affordable,quality works

The season of art auctions is here again,with ways to beat the recession blues. Art patrons are once again buying art,since the prices are plummeting. Paper works by master artists are now within reach,while younger and more affordable artists are selling like hot cakes. Indian crafts too are having a good time with newer avenues emerging to find buyers for artifacts.

After its auction on March 13,Saffronart has reported the “grand total” of its sales at Rs 7.8 crore. Even though it falls short of auction earnings like Rs 34 crore only a year back,it brings good news. It indicates that the business is still on and that many top-bracket artists are becoming affordable. The highest bid at Saffronart was Rs 1 crore for N S Harsha’s large painting Nations.

Earlier,Saffronart had set the benchmark of Rs 4-5 crore for Subodh Gupta. Now,Gupta’s canvas has slipped down on the price chart and is sold at Rs 79.35 lakh. His untitled painting of stainless-steel utensils,however,drew the second highest bid at the auction. Not just Gupta,FN Souza too has become more affordable with his paper work going under the hammer at Rs 53.18 lakh.

Saffronart founder Dinesh Vazirani is far from being glum. “The auction mirrors our assessment of the art market. We noticed an interest in new names,and we have sold almost 70 per cent of the works put up for bids. People are still responding to quality works,” he says.

A focus on crafts is emerging,and it will be evident at the upcoming Osian’s auction of pre- and post-independence art. Tying up with the Paramparik Karigar,an organisation of craftspeople,Osian’s will be promoting Patachitra paintings from Orissa,Gond paintings from Madhya Pradesh and Phad from Rajasthan,among others.

“Osian’s is not in panic mode. We are known to introduce new collectibles,like poster art,into the market. Introducing craft is just another step in that direction,” says Neville Tuli.

Noticeably,the craft works are half the price of the modern and contemporary works that are up for sale at the auction. Osian’s will not be charging the usual 20 per cent buyer’s premium on art this time.

Not to be left behind,Christie’s auction of South Asian modern and contemporary art in New York on March 19 has prices that are wallet-friendly. It has paper works by MF Husain costing Rs 6-35 lakh. The auction also has Ram Kumar’s works up for bids at Rs 1 crore — a far cry from the days when the artist’s painting sold for Rs 4 crore and above. It seems like a good time to buy art,but a bad time to sell it.

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