The global recession has left a very few economic areas untouched and investments in art is no different. Prices of artworks especially in the contemporary art segment, which had touched the sky have seen a marked correction in the past six months.
“Given the changes in the economic and financial climate world over, the prices of art are recalibrating as well,” said Maithili Parekh, deputy director, Sotheby's, "However, the value of top quality art in good condition is holding steady. For example, over the two weeks of auction from November 3 to 14, 2008, Sotheby's sold over $411 million of art in New York, proving that the art market is still very vibrant at the right values."
The Indian art market is also not different. "It should be noted though that good work still commands a good price and it's the mediocre work that's seeing the correction, irrespective of the artist. Each work of art is unique and subjective, so it is difficult to make a blanket statement that Indian art values have fallen by a certain percentage,” said Parekh.
So who would be a safe Indian artist to invest in? "It is very difficult to give names but some of our modern masters such as Husain, Raza, Souza, Gaitonde are likely to rise above this when the market bounces back," said Parekh, adding that good works by Padamsee, Ram Kumar would hold well too.
"In the contemporaries, most strong artists such as Arpita Singh, Atul Dodiya, Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher, Shipa Gupta, I believe will continue to create good work," said Parekh. But she was quick to add: "I must say, however, that the foremost premise for buying art should be passion because a collector must love and live with what he's bought."