Spotlight on M.F. Husain, price consciousness (Art Fair Review)January 30th, 2012 - 12:42 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 30 (IANS) A surge of interest in icon M.F. Husain’s art, curiosity about new media work, price consciousness and the realisation that European modern classics can be a viable investment were the dominant trends at the fourth edition of the India Art Fair 2012.
The marginal slowdown in business compared to previous years was made up by the visitors’ enthusiasm at the five-day fair which closed Jan 29 at the NSIC Ground in Delhi.
Works ranging between Rs.55,000 and Rs.100,000 sold the maximum, which is less in terms of prices last year.
But gallery owners and art analysts expressed confidence in the market, comparing it favourably to Europe which was witnessing a fresh slump.
In a break from trend, institutions like Grosvenor Gallery (Britain) and Hauser & Wirth, (Zurich and London) exhibited Indian art.
“We saw a great demand for M.F. Husain’s art resulting in sharp rise in prices. We had brought three of his works and sold all at huge prices,” Grosvenor Gallery director Conor Macklin told IANS.
The gallery exhibited art by S.H. Raza, F.N. Souza, Husain and a painting by Olivia Fraser.
“We sold around six works by Souza but all of them were below $100,000. We could not sell much of Raza. Business was slow though it was a buyers’ market,” Macklin said.
The renewed interest in Husain’s art was a reversal of the 2011 ‘farce’ when his art was removed by the organisers after protests and then re-installed.
The international section of the fair, represented by galleries such as Hauser and Wirth, White Cube, Robert Bowman and Everard Read (South Africa), became a guided walk for visitors through modern and contemporary art by legendary names like Damien Hirst, Salvador Dali and Picasso.
As many as 26 museums, including the Tate, Guggenheim, New Museum and the Singapore Art Museum, visited the fair to make acquisitions, the organisers said.
“The response has been great, the Indian art market is more vibrant than Europe now,” Peter Femfert of Frankurt-based Die Galrie told IANS.
“Indians are looking at more and more European modern classics as investment options”.
“Indian art is priced very high. One can buy three Marc Chagall paintings for the price of one Raza work. So why should one choose Indian art,” Femfert added.
The modern European classics have always shown to be very good in the international market, he added.
The gallery presented a niche European collection by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, Claudio Massini and several others.
It was a great opportunity to meet new people and expose them to our international programmes, said James Lavender, associate director of Hauser & Wirth Gallery.
The gallery presented works by 18 international artists, including Henry Moore, along with a high-end Indian contemporary collection.
“The Indian market is familiar with Indian artists, who sold more. India was a learning experience for us. We have not participated in any other fairs in Asia earlier, barring Art Hong Kong,” Lavender told IANS.
Sharan Apparao of Chennai-based Apparao Gallery said: “The art at the fair had started talking new language.”
“There has been a movement towards the new media and unusual art from classic and modern art. The buyers are also conscious about quality and price which is a post meltdown phenomenon,” Apparao told IANS.
Mumbai-based Sakshi Gallery, which brought an art work by Anish Kapoor to the fair, lamented the lack of new buyers.
“There was lot of intent, asking and looking, but we sold to our old buyers. The organisers have to be more exclusive about selecting the galleries…the standard of the fair is very high,” Usha Gawde, deputy director of the fair, told IANS. The gallery did not find any takers for Anish Kapoor.
Hosting over 90 galleries from over 20 countries, over 1,000 art works, back-to-back education programmes, 14 collateral projects, a video lounge, a sculpture court, an art book store, curated walks and a collectors’ circle, rough estimates say some 50,0000 people visited the fair.
It exhibited art worth nearly Rs.70 crore.
An interesting new trend was that many galleries reported sales and commissions to Indian corporate houses while one of the biggest buyers of the fair was the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art in Delhi, the organsiers said in a statement.
At least 50 international level collectors, including Sheikh Hassan Bin Mohamed Al Thani from Qatar, attended the fair while some 400 journalists covered the fair.
(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 1,000 artists, 20 countries - India Art Fair cometh - Jan 18, 2012
- Where Indian art meets global creativity (With Image) - Jan 26, 2012
- Presenting, 'master' Picasso with 'fan' Souza in East-West showcase (With Images) - Dec 19, 2011
- Four Indian galleries, Husain tribute at Art Dubai 2012 (With Image) - Jan 17, 2012
- Roller coaster year for Indian art (2011 in Retrospect) (With images) - Dec 28, 2011
- Asian art seeing a resurgence in global market - Sep 18, 2012
- Arpita Singh sets record as art mart booms again - Dec 11, 2010
- India Art Summit 2011 to draw best of global art - Jan 04, 2011
- Artists, buyers fondly remember Husain a year after his death (With image) - Jun 09, 2012
- India gets its first online art fair - Sep 14, 2011
- New corporate initiatives push artistic talent in India (Feature) - Aug 05, 2012
- It's a different Arab spring in art and culture - Jan 31, 2012
- A free fair for young artists to sell art directly to buyers - Jul 12, 2012
- Art auction market witnessing new generation of buyers (With Images) - Jul 11, 2012
- 'Raza masterpiece unsold but art market stable' - Mar 22, 2012
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