The Art of In­vest­ment

Look­ing to park some big money in art? A quick guide of how to make the most of your in­vest­ment by choos­ing right.

India Today - - ART - By SONAL SINGH

The onus of nur­tur­ing and pro­mot­ing young tal­ent usu­ally falls on art bi­en­nales and fairs, gal­leries and mu­seum pro­grammes. It is im­por­tant to note though that it’s only a dy­namic pri­mary art mar­ket that leads a suc­cess­ful se­condary mar­ket.

What qual­i­fies as in­vest­ment? In my view art and in­vest­ment should not be part of the same sen­tence, es­pe­cially when you start to build a col­lec­tion. The art you col­lect should re­flect your per­son­al­ity and pas­sions, not your bank ac­count. With pure in­vest­ment on your mind, you can never build a pri­vate col­lec­tion. How­ever, the minute you be­come an estab­lished col­lec­tor, your search for mas­ter­pieces to com­plete your col­lec­tion means higher costs of ac­qui­si­tion, which will in­volve some se­ri­ous thoughts on in­vest­ment.

The way to these works will take time, so in the mean­time, col­lect what speaks to you. And how ex­actly does that work? Start by train­ing your eye: visit gallery open­ings and go back when it is qui­eter for a word with the gal­lerist; pre-auc­tion exhibition­s are an­other good way to look at art. Dis­cov­er­ing as much as pos­si­ble about artists that in­ter­est you will bring you closer to un­der­stand­ing the artist and his work cir­cles bet­ter.

Mak­ing your first buy If this should be in an auc­tion

house, I rec­om­mend at­tend­ing a cou­ple of auc­tions with­out bid­ding, just to ob­serve and un­der­stand the mech­a­nism of an auc­tion and which prices work for you. Af­ter study­ing the art mar­ket you should fi­nally be ready to make a good pur­chase. The main thing to re­mem­ber is to en­joy the process and the art you dis­cover.

Which artists to col­lect? For con­tem­po­rary art be­ing pre­sented on the pri­mary mar­ket, go and ex­plore. Once you have found artists that you think are in­ter­est­ing, process and an­a­lyse the in­for­ma­tion you col­lect, bal­ance these against the emo­tional value the work holds for you and take a fi­nal de­ci­sion.

On the se­condary mar­ket there are still pos­si­bil­i­ties to buy works of art by ma­jor masters, maybe not in oil but on pa­per. The “works on pa­per” cat­e­gory still al­lows you to col­lect works by ma­jor artist for a frac­tion of the price their oil on can­vas works would fetch. It re­mains a cat­e­gory of great trea­sure hunts.

A good in­di­ca­tion for a sta­ble and in­creas­ing mar­ket value is when an artist starts to be rep­re­sented on both mar­kets. I re­mem­ber artists such as Peter Doig, Ger­hard Richter or Jean-Michel Basquiat en­ter­ing the auc­tion cat­a­logues at very mod­est es­ti­mates—a mo­ment I missed out on to start col­lect­ing their work. Les­son learned. Ob­serve and be at the right place at the right time to build your col­lec­tion based on your pas­sions.

Mod­ern In­dian art At Christie’s we have been hold­ing South Asian Mod­ern and Con­tem­po­rary auc­tions since the 1990s in New York and London and con­tinue to do so with strong re­sults that are built on a grow­ing col­lec­tor cir­cle. This in­creas­ing in­ter­na­tional in­ter­est in In­dian art is mir­rored by re­cent exhibition­s of VS Gaitonde at the Guggen­heim Mu­seum New York and Venice, M F Hu­sain at the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum, Nas­reen Mo­hamedi at Tate Liver­pool and Bhu­pen Khakhar at Tate Mod­ern London. It is fan­tas­tic to see these renowned in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions in­ter­ested in show­ing our artists.

Forth­com­ing auc­tions From end-Novem­ber un­til mid-De­cem­ber at our gallery in Mum­bai, we will be host­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion of works to be of­fered at our South Asian Art Auc­tions in New York in 2019. They will be shown along­side im­por­tant pieces from other Mod­ern and Con­tem­po­rary cat­e­gories.

Our reg­u­lar sale sea­sons for South Asian Mod­ern and Con­tem­po­rary Art start in New York in March and then move to London in June. An­other auc­tion in New York takes place in the Au­tumn, and we con­clude with a se­lec­tion of works in our Hong Kong week auc­tions in Novem­ber. The top lot of the New York sales this March (il­lus­trated here) was a mas­ter­piece by Syed Haider Raza,

Tapo­van, painted in 1972, which re­alised $4,452,500, set­ting a new world auc­tion record for the artist and for the cat­e­gory of South Asian Mod­ern and Con­tem­po­rary Art.

HIGH STAKES Syed Haider Raza (19222016) Tapo­van

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