Art auction markets become competitive after correction (Weekly art column, RAINBOW PALETTE, with Images)

June 5th, 2009 - 2:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 5 (IANS) The price band in the online art auction market is gradually moving up and becoming more competitive - defying the downturn.
The total lower and higher price estimates at India’s leading online art gallery, Saffronart’s summer auction June 10-11, are Rs.11 crore (US$2.3 million) and Rs.13.9 crore (US$3 million) respectively.

Saffronart’s chief operating officer and co-founder Dinesh Vazirani said the works have been competitively priced to allow serious collectors and first-time buyers bid for them.

“Saffronart has always been making available important works of highly-prized Indian artists to collectors around the world. Collectors have become very selective. Keeping this in mind, we are presenting works at competitive prices,” Vazirani said.

The sale will offer 85 lots, featuring artworks by 57 leading contemporary artists. It will also be accompanied by an illustrated print catalogue, which can be bought online.

The highlights of the auctions include works by modern masters like V.S. Gaitonde, Ram Kumar, Arpita Singh, Akbar Padamsee, M.F. Husain and Jogen Chowdhury. The contemporary artists include Subodh Gupta, Hema Upadhyay, Anju Dodiya and Riyas Komu.

Sources in the art auction market said the price trends were picking up once again as the market was stabilising after price corrections in the last quarter.

There was little fluctuation and the gaps between the higher and the lower estimates of artworks were narrowing, opening the door to a larger spectrum of buyers. Auctions in general were also witnessing better pricing - in terms of bids.

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Pride of India

Collecting stamps - one of the most popular passions of Indians cutting across towns, cities, races and colours - has become upend. Blame the fatter wallets of the collectors.

A new limited edition collection of the best of Indian postage - “Pride of India” - a set of 25 emblematic stamps showcasing the country’s achievements in every sphere post-Independence - is creating waves among philatelists. The stamps are made of .999 Swiss silver, plated in 24 carat gold and are priced at.Rs 6,000 each. The total set of 25 costs Rs.1.5 lakh.

The limited edition collectors’ stamps, recreated by Hallmark, a UK-based art and heritage accessory group, have been selected from the archives of the National Philatelic Museum in New Delhi. The moulds have been specially obtained from Indian Posts and the ingots have been made in a mint in Switzerland. The moulds have to be returned to the postal department after 7,500 editions.

” ‘The Pride of India’ ” series reaches collectors and buyers by Indian speed post once every month. The silver stamps are accompanied by a fact sheet, a pair of silver gloves (in the sixth month), a jewellers’ cloth, a lacquered wood and velvet display case with keys and with the collector’s name engraved on it and a book, ‘Enchanting India’. It is an ideal collectors’ item, gift and family heirloom,” managing director of Hallmark Group Ajay Sachdeva told the media Thursday.

They can be ordered on the Internet or on the telephone.

The Pride of India series includes the famous Radha-Kishangarh stamp - which was inspired by a 1778 (hill) miniature from an old fort in Kishangarh painted by Nihal Chand.

Hallmark has recreated several heritage postage series across the world like the Hollywood series, famous president series and a special 9/11 commemorative series, ‘United We Stand’.

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Light art

An exhibition, “Eyes of Water”, at the Instituto Cervantes in New Delhi has brought “state-of-the art digital photographic art” from Spain by veteran neo-modern artist Rufo Criado.

The artworks on display at the institute in the capital play with light - like in digital billboard advertisement - and images of natural landscape. The images are encased in light boxes of different shapes and look like a coloured prism.

“I am a landscape painter and have worked in public spaces and I recollect all the sensations that emanate from the space where I am working,” said the artist, who has exhibited his light boxes in churches.

Born in 1952, he was director of the Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos and has exhibited across the world.

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