Osian's founder launches Indian art market journal
The publication analyses auction houses’ performance, rates galleries and promises a detailed report of art funds
By Gareth Harris. Web only
Published online: 12 July 2010
london. Neville Tuli, the founder of Mumbai-based auction house Osian’s, is editor of a new quarterly publication, Art Market India Report (Amir), which, he says, was born from “the need for a new platform for disseminating authentic information regularly, especially as regards the pricing, valuation, authenticity, publishing and collecting of Indian art”.
The journal is published by the Council of Indian Arts, Culture, Education & Its Infrastructure, a body established by Tuli along with several Indian arts professionals including architect Romi Khosla and artist Ganesh Haloi. “Amir will allow us to open out new collaborations and partnerships…naturally, accessing the databases, archives and research of Osian’s is the first obvious collaboration,” said Tuli.
The Indian art market boom was one of the most dramatic, with triple-digit growth between 2006 and 2008. Investors, particularly those who had missed the China boat, were anxious to scramble aboard the Indian one. Prices for Indian art were hit hard during the downturn, though an upswing was in evidence in June when sales of South Asian modern and contemporary art realised a total of £12.5m at Christie’s, and a work by Syed Haider Raza, Saurashtra, 1983, set a new auction record for a modern Indian work at £2.4m.
Meanwhile, Osian’s was keen to announce the “revival of the Indian art market” following its 23 June “101 Rare Artworks” tenth anniversary auction in Mumbai which achieved a sale total of Rs27.99 crore ($6m, with buyer’s premium; a crore means a multiple of 10m) with 83% sold by lot. The top lot was the 1987 painting Nude by Akbar Padamsee which sold for Rs25,200,000 ($544,159, est Rs12,000,000-Rs18,000,000). Tuli said that “trends do indicate a strong consolidation of the art market, but the sense of revival will be clearly evident in the September auctions”.
The Amir report includes, among other data, a detailed analysis of the auction houses’ market share of the Indian art market from January to March 2010. Osian’s share has, however, gone down since the same period last year with a 17.8% slice of the market in 2010 compared to 32.4% in 2009 (Christie’s rose from 27.2% to 38.7%; Sotheby’s moved upwards from 22.9% to 23.7%; online auction house Saffron Art increased from 17.5% to 19.8%).
The journal also includes “gallery ratings” for Indian dealers by awarding points in ten sections according to criteria such as “the gallery’s contribution to modern and contemporary art”, “exhibition profile” and “clients and collectors base”. The inaugural participant, Chemould Prescott Road gallery in Mumbai, is awarded 73.25 points, resulting in an AAA grading from Tuli and his team.
The next issue of Amir promises a “detailed and focused analysis of art funds”. Osian’s Art Fund was due to be redeemed in November last year but earlier this year investors claimed that they had not been paid, or received far less than the initial promises of 20%-22% returns. Tuli said: “Expectations in 2006 were naturally altered post-2008 for all investments—not just art. The first tranche of repayment to the unit holders is completed. The second tranche will be completed by 20 July 2010.”
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