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The art of business

This year’s edition of the India Art Summit raked in the moolah like never before.

art and culture Updated: Jan 26, 2011 00:54 IST
Namya Sinha

It’s the start of another era in art. As the third annual edition of the India Art Summit closed curtains in the Capital on Sunday, international galleries, artists and buyers returned pleased with the evolved art market in the country.

“This year, the scale and scope was very large. There were five works that were sold for over $1 million (around Rs 4.5 crore),” says Neha Kripal, director of the event, which took place at Pragati Maidan from Jan 21-23. “The works were priced at much higher rates, and Indian contemporary artists did very well,” she adds.

The fair, produced by Fourth Dimension, saw in participation a total of 570 artists and 84 galleries from 20 countries across the world. There were collectors from around 67 global cities, and the gala affair saw 1,28,000 visitors in three days (Jan 21 - 23), inspite of traffic restrictions due to Republic Day preparations and security threats.

The buyers included hundreds of new faces, and the most-bought works fell in the category of Rs 1-5 lakh. “In 2009, new buyers were responsible only for about 30-40% of sales. This time, galleries reported that up to 80% of their works were sold to first-time buyers. The total sales figures amounted to around three times that of last year’s Rs 26 crore, though we are yet to receive the official figures,” says Kripal.

A new hot property on the block was video art, with sales amounting to Rs 5 crore. Gallerists are thrilled at the overwhelming response. “Our business as been thrice as nice as compared to the last two years. We have sold Souza, Raza and more. One of the works was sold at Rs 2 crore,” says Ashish Anand, director, Delhi Art Gallery.

Young galleries also did well. “We are completely sold out. All the 25 artworks that we were showcasing — even those by relatively lesser-known and younger artists — are sold. New-media art has now found takers, and collectors are willing to invest in new names and fresh ideas,” says Bhavana Kakar of Latitude 28, a Delhi-based gallery at the summit.