Sunday, October 25, 2009

Splashed in Red - September Auction Analysis for Indian Contemporary Art

Here is the article published in "The Telegraph" posted here for the International readers of this blog....... Check out the auction analysis with help from Art Tactic and figure out if there is really a recovery ........
You could say that the ‘Indian art season’ has kicked off. In September, there were three major auctions — Saffronart, Sotheby’s and Christie’s — and the results are a pointer to which way the art world will be headed in coming months.

So what can we look forward to? The modern art market looks strong — but the same can’t be said for Contemporary art.

The star of the season so far is one of the old masters, Tyeb Mehta. Even in this market , he notched up Rs 6.4 crore for one of the Mahishasura canvases.

He wasn’t the only one to make a splash. A rare but good-sized 57in x 92in Jagdish Swaminadhan went for close to Rs 2.75 crore at the Christie’s auction. This really goes to show that — as always — there are buyers willing to pay a premium over market prices and even market conditions for good quality art.

At the Sotheby’s auction, I was impressed by the nice Rs 3 crore figure for a V.S. Gaitonde canvas. Now, Gaitonde was one of the least prolific artists of his times and very few works are available. This was a 65in x 40in work and it’s typical of the abstract work he was known for.

This untitled Manjit Bawa work fetched a stunning Rs 1.27 crore at the Saffronart auction


In the Saffronart auction nearer home, both Akbar Padamsee with a value of close to Rs 1.87 crore and a stunning Manjit Bawa at Rs 1.27 crore were standout performers.

Yes, the top lots did do well. And this has lent weight to those who argue that the Modern art market has recovered.

But let me give you an interesting set of statistics: There were a total of 161 lots of Modern art at these three auctions and out of these, 107 — or close to 70 per cent — sold at the lower end of the estimate or did not sell. So the recovery was mainly in exceptional works of Tyeb Mehta, MF Hussain, S. H. Raza, F. N. Souza and Gaitonde.

Tyeb Mehta notched up Rs 6.4 crore for this Mahishasura canvas

Meanwhile, the Contemporary art scene was disappointing to say the least — and the picture looks even bleaker if you compare it to the Contemporary art sales last September.


Both Modern and Contemporary art prices have fallen this year; As the second graph shows, 81 per cent of the contemporary lots are selling at the lower end of the estimate or failing to sell

Last year, at the three September auctions, Contemporary art worth Rs 58 crore was sold. This year that figure fell to a pitiful Rs 4.5 crores — at all three auctions combined. That includes a very surprising performance of close to Rs 1.8 crore for a lovely Jitish Kallat work, Dawn Chorus — 7. Kallat has, over the last one year, failed to sell at a number of auctions, so this new sale record was a pleasant surprise.

With this exception, I didn’t see one result in the entire Contemporary space that merited. In fact, the sad truth is none of the three auctions had much quality work. The reason: collectors aren’t dispatching their best works to auctions because they fear the works will fetch less than their purchase price.

Looking through the sales figures drills home the fact how even seasoned collectors get carried away during good times when there’s too much money chasing art which isn’t always the best quality.

During the boom Atul Dodiya held a famous water colour show with some 40 of his works on display at Bodhi Art gallery in Mumbai. Each work was on sale, at the time, for about Rs 20 lakh — there weren’t many buyers at that price even then. But two of the same works came up for sale at Sotheby’s. They sold finally for about Rs 6 lakh.

The same phenomenon has struck many other collectors who have lost close to 70 per cent of their buying price. Art should be bought because you like the work and you relate to the work and it strikes an instant chord. Art bought for investment will never yield the right returns. Also, the price point is the key and you can burn a deep hole in your pocket if you get carried away and don’t do your research.

Similarly, a Surendran Nair canvas failed to sell in the second consecutive Saffronart auction despite decent estimates, showing there is no genuine collector demand for his canvas works at the current price points.

The ArtTactic Indian Auction Indicator for the Contemporary market is standing at 19. This implies 81 per cent of the contemporary lots are selling at the lower end of the estimate or failing to sell, indicating estimates could fall further before market equilibrium is attained.

Going ahead, I’d like to see the auction houses come up with better works. Let’s see some good significant works by artists like T.V. Santhosh, N.S. Harsha and Bharti Kher in the coming auctions. Let’s see some of the young artists who are doing cutting-edge work and being shown at some of the world’s important art fairs. I believe the next few months will be a great time to be buying exceptional art by some of the top Contemporary artists.

Kapil Chopra is Senior Vice President of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts.He writes a blog on collecting and investing in Indian Contemporary art at www.indianartinvest.blogspot.com.He also writes for The Telegraph newspaper in the Sunday magazine " Graphiti" every fortnight. In Delhi, he has written for "The Mail Today " newspaper and "First City" magazine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Views on the Art Market in Bloomberg TV Interview at ART Singapore

Dear Friends,

Here is a link of my interview with Bloomberg TV at Art Singapore and views on the art market. I will also be putting my presentation ' Indian Contemporary Art - The Road Ahead" which was presented at Art Singapore for download in my next post as promised in my talk. I thank all those took out the time to attend the presentation at Art Singapore. Also, a note of thanks to Shen Po, the Director of ARTSingapore who gave me an opportunity to share my views and invited me for the talk to her lovely fair!

More on that with the presentation and exclusive images for the readers of this blog in my next post!

Cheers
Kapil Chopra

video

Kapil Chopra is Senior Vice President of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts.He writes a blog on collecting and investing in Indian Contemporary art at www.indianartinvest.blogspot.com.He also writes for The Telegraph newspaper in the Sunday magazine " Graphiti" every fortnight. In Delhi, he has written for "The Mail Today " newspaper and "First City" magazine.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Conversation With Art Collector Kapil Chopra by Invitation at ARTSingapore



In April 2009, the Art Tactic Confidence Indicator fell by 63 % from October 2008. Valuations in the contemporary space have dropped by close to 60 % from last year and are now near the bottom. Meet avid art collector Kapil Chopra, who will share with you some insights of his strategies and join him in this exciting presentation that will take you through the roller coaster ride of Indian Contemporary Art and also highlight the current and future stars of the Indian art world.
Known for his frank, unbiased and critical take on artists and valuations of artworks in his blog, http://www.indianartinvest.blogspot.com/, Kapil Chopra is a passionate art collector of Indian contemporary art. He also writes for publications such as "The Telegraph ", "Mail Today" both newspapers and “First City” magazine in New Delhi. As Senior Vice President of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, he runs one of India's most spectacular hotels, Trident. Gurgaon, New Delhi National Region and is also opening Asia's most luxurious hotel, The Oberoi,Gurgaon, which will further set new benchmarks in hospitality.