India’s contemporary artists no longer seek accolades from just Indians, they compete with the world’s best, says Kent Charugundia of TamarindArt gallery.
Speaking at the inauguration of the
celebrations, he said Indian art had “come a long way” since the progressive art movement that arose at the time of independence. The new generation of Indian artists “had taken art to a whole new level”.
Charugundia recalls how in 2001, one could buy an MF Husain, which would fetch half-a-million dollars today, for $12,000. “Between 2001 and 2004, Indian art saw price increases of as much as 500 per cent a year,” he marvels.
Prices have plateaued now. At recent sales at Sotheby’s, for example, Indian paintings were sold at the low-end of their valuations.
Charugundia believes this is good news. “This shows collectors have become more mature, more discriminatory. They don’t want to just buy a Souza, they want to buy the best Souza.” Indian art collectors now do a lot of research. “They check if the painting was in a catalogue, whose collection it came from, which gallery the artist was associated with.”
In any case, low-end valuations are often still in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. A painting by Atul Dodiya recently went for $500,000.
Charugundia, who sees his mission as educating the world about Indian culture, says: “The beauty of new Indian artists is that there is nothing particularly Indian about them. They have a truly global audience with an international citizenship.”