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Wall Art

Transforming art into an asset is a pivotal part. I believe that everybody should become a shareholder,” Neville Tuli,founder-chairman of Osian’s,declared at a talk on ‘The Future Growth of India’s Art & Culture’ on Saturday,an hour before their auction of Indian Modern and Contemporary Art.

Written by RICHA BHATIA |
February 25, 2009 11:02:04 pm

Transforming art into an asset is a pivotal part. I believe that everybody should become a shareholder,” Neville Tuli,founder-chairman of Osian’s,declared at a talk on ‘The Future Growth of India’s Art & Culture’ on Saturday,an hour before their auction of Indian Modern and Contemporary Art.

The message seemed to have got home to the august gathering that had poured in at Imperial Hotel to bid for 50 works by modern masters such as SH Raza,Tyeb Mehta,FN Souza and Atul Dodiya. Though a few of them at the talk were a-twitter about the downward spiral in the art world and ruled out the auction as financially viable,the auction result put to rest the rankling thoughts. It raked a 50 per cent sale,clocking Rs 3.38 crores,with Atul Dodiya’s The Wall (picture),an oil and acrylic on canvas attracting the highest it — of Rs 57.6 lakhs.

Was it a good decision to hold the auction in recession-weary times? “We are the principal leaders in the field and can’t hide in such times. In good times,we usually make 70-75 per cent while in average times we clock about 60 per cent. What we are going through right now is a psychological meltdown. In these times,art becomes a valuable financial asset,since a high quality and historically significant artwork can hold its own,” Tuli said.

For a buyer seeking reassurance that their canvas would not depreciate,this might serve as a convincing argument. The top three works going under the hammer were Bikash Bhattacharjee’s oil on canvas Still Life (Rs 48 lakhs),Meera Mukherjee’s brass work Figure(Rs 34.8 lakhs) and F N Souza’s oil work on Masonite board Lingam & Yoni (Rs 31.2 lakhs). Dodiya had dedicated The Wall to Rahul Dravid as a salute to the cricketer’s strength.

In May,Tuli will launch an art search engine “with the largest archive”. He is also converting Mumbai’s Minerva cinema into a seven-level cinematheque with an archive,library and a centre. for debates.

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