Tips on Art

Celebrated works of leading Indian artists are selling like hot cakes, yielding big returns for their owners. Away from the hype and hoopla surrounding equities, art has emerged as a niche form of investment.

According to investment advisors, art enjoys a prominent position as a percentage of an investor’s portfolio in the West. Though, art in India is still miles away from reaching that stage, the trend slowly seems to be catching up.

An Insight into the Indian Art Market

The Indian art market has been receiving a lot of media attention recently and with good reason. Although it may not seem like a country that could sustain an art market, India has recently experienced an economic boom that has seen the emergence of a new wealthy class of people who need something to invest their money in. With art prices in India tripling across the board there is a good reason why people are viewing India as a serious player in the world art market.

The auction market in India gives a good indication of the progress of the art market which was worth $150 million last year which is almost triple what it was worth in 2005. The number of buyers is still relatively small but with such a large population and continued economic growth the future for India?s art market should be huge.

To give you an idea of how far the market has come, an artwork by M.F.Husain could have been purchased for $16,000 in 2000 but are now selling for several hundred thousand dollars. Another artist Ram Kumar is now selling works for up to $500,000 whereas in 2003 they were being bought for $32,000 which is an increase of 1462%.

A few tips that may help when collecting Art

  • Buy Art For Arts Sake: Most people look at art solely as an investment. But the first important reason when procuring any kind of art should be because you enjoy/like it and buy it for its aesthetic value. A piece of art becomes a good investment only if it is good work to start with.
  • Galleries: Before procuring an art work it is good to visit Art Galleries and have a survey of what is available and current prices. Keep a look out for newspaper listings in your local papers as they have detailed information on ongoing art events.
  • Surf the Internet: The internet in todays day and age is a very useful source for information. Surfing on the internet on a genre of art/ particular artist/ would be useful.
  • A wide range of Books/Magazines are available on Art. These range from subjects on the art market/history of art, or may be specific to the works of a particular artist. You may also choose to look out in the local newspaper on articles on Art written by Art critics. However one should always remember that these articles are not always accurate as they often reflect the opinions of an individual.
  • Attending Seminars/Lectures on Art can often be useful as it gives you an insight and would help you to analyse the current Art Scene.
  • Attending Auctions: Auctions are live and therefore one can witness the prices that a particular artist is commanding. You also get to see the artwork simultaneously. Alternatively you may visit websites of Auction Houses.
  • Attending Art Fairs and Art Expos at National and International levels are very helpful as you are able to view large collections of art and interact with several art lovers/connoisseurs/ art curators and gallery owners.
  • Consult an Art Consultant if you are not sure on which artist to acquire. They are often helpful as they will guide you through the process of purchasing art.
  • Art Consultants are available in Galleries. It is always good to consult more than one so that the opinion is not bias.
  • It is important to read on the background of the artist. Hence when procuring an artwork you may search for there resume online or you may request the seller (Gallery/Private Seller) to provide you with the relevant information. It is essential to note that Art Education the artist might have recieved or the number of solo and group shows held by the artist at the national and international level.
  • Consulting family or friends who have a keen interest in art and have been seasoned art collectors or have adequate knowledge is always helpful.
  • Ensure that the artwork is genuine and not a fake. An Authenticity certificate is helpful in this situation.
  • Check on the type of artwork. It may sometimes seem obvious that it is a original but it may be a reproduction or a print. So one should be aware of what they are buying.
  • Once you fall in love with the artwork and have gathered background information on the artist, prices and other relevant data you can buy it and enjoy it in your home.

When buying an Artwork Note the Following:

When purchasing the artwork you should ensure that the following documentation is provided. This is important because should you wish to sell your work in the future, the following paperwork is helpful to make the process simpler.

  1. Invoice: This should be a full detailed receipt documenting each artwork purchased by you.
  2. Letter of Authenticity: Stating the details of the artwork, i.e. size, medium, title, and artist name and Image of artwork. A statement of authenticity with the signature of the artist and date is essential. Should the artist not be living then the authorised signatory must provide there signature.
  3. Artist Resume: A detailed Resume of the artist, stating his educational qualifications and art show history and other relevant information. It is always good to have current and updated information on the artist whose work you are procuring.

Transporting Art Works:

  • The first important feature when transporting any artworks is to ensure they are well packed. You may use a professional packer, or do it yourself. Materials that may be used are bubble wrap, correlated sheets, cardboard or play and jute for the final wrap.
  • When transporting Artworks locally ensure that you have a vehicle large enough so that the artwork does not get damaged.
  • When transporting Artworks outside your city either national or internationally ensure that you the artwork does not have glass. It may be a better option to put acrylic sheet instead. Also ensure to request the airline to put a fragile sticker and handle with immense care.
  • In cases where artworks are huge in size and it may not be practical to pack as it is, one can take it to a framer and request him to remove the painting from the stretcher and remove the frame and roll the painting with bubble wrap and put it in a tube.
  • One may also hire professional packers and movers of art to transfer artworks.
  • Consider taking transportation insurance while transporting artworks for its security against damage.

Hanging Storage and Safety of Artwork:

  • Use appropriate type of hangers and clips while hanging artwork to prevent them from falling and damaging. You can consult professional framing stores for this.
  • Avoid hanging artworks on walls that are damp. This may damage the artwork.
  • Avoid hanging over a fire place or in areas exposed to direct heat from sun.
  • When storing artworks, one should ensure that the room is not damp. Cover the artwork with well-wrapped bubble wrap and place it 4 inches off the floor. Open your artworks from time to time to air it and clean if any fungus or damage is caused.
  • In case of expensive artworks you may get an Art Insurance to cover yourself against theft, damage, fire and other hazards. You can get art insurance company information online or through an art gallery.
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