The middle class with its needle-sharp sense of aesthetics had been left out its loop — art as an investment.
But the world of canvas and connoisseurs is changing. The new art funds in the market have the small investors in mind.
Funds such as the Osians Art Funds or the Yatra Fund work on the mutual funds model. A minimum investment of Rs 10 lakh gets locked for three to five years with a healthy profit on maturity.
The Copal Art Fund is friendlier — it does not have a minimum investment cap or lock-in clauses. In addition, investors get the best frames on the block at their doorstep — turning them into collectors.
Mumbai stockbroker Hemang Jangla was clueless about art till a year ago when he invested in 12 paintings. “Now my portfolio flaunts canvases by Paritosh Sen, Thota Vaikuntam, Kishore Shinde and Manu Parekh,” says Jangla.
“Their worth has appreciated by 60 per cent.” The stock-broker is keen to learn how to distinguish good art from bad. “In two years, I want to become a connoisseur and guide investors on what to buy.”
Delhi-based Deepak Singhal invested Rs 3 lakh in nine canvases by Kuldeep Singh — a new talent. “In the coming years, I do not see his price tags plummeting. If he hits the arclights, I will hit the jackpot,” says Singhal.
Hyderabad homemaker Anita Sakuru feels it is safe investment with high growth. “And there is nothing like watching your investment light up your walls.”
Copal promoter Ajay Seth says he wants to turn the middle-class into art-lovers. “This will break the elitist stranglehold and give small artists their due. Last year, I promoted two funds worth Rs 10 crore each. Both were oversubscribed. This year, I am planning a Rs 150-crore fund.”
Art consultant Poonam Goel sees risks. “It is important that prospective buyers know where their money is going. They should consult market experts.”