Cost-effective contemporary arts from Indian art gallery

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A significant element surfacing in the art market in midst of the recession is that auctions, both at home and abroad, have started doing reasonably well at reduced price levels. Prices of Indian artworks, on average, have come down by 40-50%.

Realising that lower prices are triggering sales, auctioneers are pegging their presale reserve prices at competitive brackets.

"Auction prices have clearly climbed down. They may have fallen to pre-boom tags or there about. All forms of art - Modern and Contemporary - have dropped in varying degrees. The only brand of art which has not slipped in a major way is the early genres which, in any case, had not spiralled like the others during the boom. The good in all this is that auctions are showing respectable results at lower prices," an indian art specialist told ET.

The specialist reiterated that prices in general have slid by by 40-50% "from their peak levels". "This has led to auction sales of roughly 50-70% in terms of lots, which, under the circumstances, is quite healthy. The same has not happened in galleries and studio sales because of the reluctance of many artists to reduce prices. Buyers are also sometimes unaware that prices have actually come down," he said.

According to him, art collectors will welcome any opportunity to pick up their favorite artists at lower prices. In fact, a view that is strongly gaining ground that price cuts in art are necessary to revive this market. After all, rise in famous artworks prices were significantly higher than the fall. "If a price reduction can fuel sales, the artist will be the final gainer," the specialist said.

"The auctioneers have perceived this and are keeping reserve prices low in the last few auctions. This is not only happening in Indian art auctions, but also at international art sales. Although the last few auctions have been more or less successful, against the backdrop of this downturn, one is eagerly awaiting the auctions by Sotheby's, Christie's and Bonhams in London in June. These auctions are expected to set the trend for art buying in future," the specialist underscored.

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