dimanche 29 juin 2008

Big Picture: It's a good time to buy art

Source The Economic Times
As the stock market continues its downward trend, there are a number of investors turning to art as an alternate investment option. In the past, we have discussed how domestic art is rapidly emerging as an asset class. Analysts confirm that despite last year's fall in the art index, this year it has been recording spectacular returns at both international and domestic auctions.
According to the latest ArtTactic Indian art market survey, the domestic and global economic situation is having an impact on the overall sentiments in the domestic art market. Despite this, both the Modern and Indian Art Market Confidence Indicators have reached new heights, showing the continued optimism in the market." Among the domestic contemporary artists T V Santosh, N S Harsha, Bharti Kher and Subodh Gupta take up the top positions.
At the recently concluded Saffronart's summer online auction 70 percent of the total lots were sold of which 66 percent were sold above their higher estimate. The sale grossed (inclusive of buyer's premium) USD 97.21 lakhs or Rs 38.88 crores. Subodh Gupta, S H Raza, Rashid Rana, and F N Souza continued their brilliant performances at this auction as well.
At the upcoming Sotheby's Contemporary art auction this week, domestic artists such as Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher, T V Santosh, and Anish Kapoor, and a few others will also be featured. This incidentally is not an exclusive domestic art sale but features international artists and involves names such as Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon along with a host of other established artists.
The sale is offering eight works by the Indian contingent. These works are estimated to be around £2 million. In fact, Anish Kapoor's untitled sculpture alone is estimated at £1-1 .5 million. This is an interesting phase for domestic art and the results from this auction will clearly indicate how domestic artists fare in a mainstream international auction.
However, it does appear that domestic art has found widespread acceptance at a global level and investing in art might be a smart decision.

samedi 28 juin 2008

Exposure makes Indian art prices gallop in global mart

Source : The Economic Times NEW DELHI: The price curve of Indian art is shooting north in the global market because of "increased consciousness" about it, say experts.
This has been brought about by greater visibility of art and artists from the country and easy access to relevant information about Indian art from the internet, they say.
"Indian art is becoming a part of international consciousness, why is why we have seen a spectacular growth in this field," Yamini Mehta, director of modern and contemporary Indian art at the London-based Christie's, told IANS on e-mail.
"Boundaries are becoming more fluid. We are seeing more Indian artists being represented in international museum exhibitions and art fairs. The exposure is helping create newer collectors who actively seek out works by the best of Indian artists to add to their collections," Mehta said.
On June 11, a painting by F.N. Souza, an Indian artist who spent the better part of his life in New York, sold for $2.5 million, while an untitled painting by Tyeb Mehta (Figure in a Rickshaw) fetched 982,050 pounds setting new price records at the Christie's auction in London.
Five of contemporary artist Subodh Gupta's works were also sold in the same auction at record prices. Gupta's "Bucket", an abstract canvas with the symbolic motif of his trademark bucket, was sold for 121,250 pounds while his "Magic Wands" and "Cotton Wicks" were sold for 169,250 pounds and 15,000 pounds respectively.
Twelve artists set new records in terms of prices at the auction in London.
According to experts, Indian art in general had a higher price profile in almost every international art show this year.
A New Delhi-based dealer, Nature Morte, sold a set of three sculptures by Gupta for nearly $1 million, while a painting by rising star T.V. Santosh went out to a British collector for $170,000 at the prestigious Art Basel, the largest fair of modern and contemporary art in Switzerland. Gupta's seven-metre wide "Triptych" sold for $1 million in the same fair.
In March 2008, M.F. Husain's "Battle of Ganga and Jamuna" sold for $1.6 million in New York.
Auction houses and dealers attribute the boom to growing consciousness and appreciation of Indian art internationally.

According to Mehta, the new breed of collectors, who are armed with more money, are incredibly well informed. "They usually look for a combination of three factors in an art work - lineage, the artist and its freshness.
"For instance, the 'The Birth' by F.N. Souza which sold for a record-breaking price of $2.5 million, had the combination of all the three: it was a large museum quality masterpiece by one of the giants in Indian art and completely fresh to the market," Mehta said.
The freshness of the artwork, experts claimed, was instrumental in pushing up its price.
Peter Nagy, director of Nature Morte Gallery in Delhi, which sold almost all its works at the Basel fair, says the increase in price is directly related to the demand for the works and the increased attention that the international art world is paying to contemporary art works coming out of India today.
"This increased attention increases the demand and hence the prices go up," Nagy told IANS.
Citing Basel as an example, Nagy said the "audience in Switzerland wanted unique Indian works and were not interested in works and prints by Indian artists. However, the prices of the works were dictated by the prices set in India".
Another factor that determines the price tag is the stiff neck-on-neck bids, especially at auctions, and the wide client base. The competition among bidders triggers an artificial increase in prices.
The phenomenon is also gradually becoming applicable to Indian art, especially in international sales.
Describing the nature of the Christie's London auction of Asian art, Mehta said the auction hall was packed right from the beginning with clients from across the globe.
"There was also spirited bidding on telephones and through Christie's LIVE, which is a new platform for our clients to watch the live auction in real time and bid online from the comfort of home or office," Mehta said.
According to an estimate by the Christie's, the market for Indian art gathered steam over the last decade, totalling an impressive $42 million in 2006 from just $656,000 in a sale in 2000.
Before that, price milestones were generally one-time. In 2005, Tyeb Mehta's "Mahisasura" sold for a record $1,584,000.

samedi 21 juin 2008

A booming Indian art?

Source : Words from the solitude, Friday 20 June 2008

Let us start with some figures and facts:

(a) The global art market is worth about US$ 40 billion (Rs 1,70,000 crore).
(b) The Indian art market is worth more than US$ 0.24 billion (Rs 1,000 crore).
(c) The Indian art market has grown from US$ 2 million to a US$ 400 million market over the last seven years.
(d) From the benchmark year 2003, the Indian art market is growing at an average rate of between 20-30 per cent an year.
(e) A recent report by Fortune claims that the Indian art market has risen over 485 per cent in the last ten years, making it the fourth most positive art market in the world.
(f) Other than the auction houses Sotheby’s and Christie’s, about ten galleries in New York, London and Singapore – added to the hundreds of galleries in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata - are now dealing regularly and exclusively with Indian art.
(g) Work by an Indian artist that sold in the late 1980s for perhaps $2,500 can now fetch more than $1 million.

Saffronart auction notches $9.7 mn sales, Subodh Gupta on top (Lead)

Source : Thaindian News June 21st, 2008

Mumbai, June 20 (IANS) New Delhi-based contemporary artist Subodh Gupta’s untitled work of steel vessels soared past S.H. Raza’s “Germination” to record a high of Rs.57 million ($1.43 million) at Saffronart’s summer online auction, which registered a total sale value of Rs.390 million ($9.7 million). Indian art has moved from a miniscule $2 million to a huge $400 million market over the last seven years and the latest Saffronart auction, which closed yet another record sale Thursday evening, is an indication that the art business is only set to grow further.
Hosted on a new, innovative and highly interactive platform, the Summer Online Auction featured the work of globally sought painters, sculptors and installation artists. World auction records were set for eight artists - Subodh Gupta, Hema Upadhyay, Badri Narayan, K.M. Adimoolam, Justin Ponmany, Chitra Ganesh, Bose Krishnamachari and Anita Dube.
On the first day of the auction itself several lots crossed their higher estimates, including works by Subodh Gupta, Hema Upadhyay, T.V. Santhosh and Justin Ponmany, setting the pace for the exciting bidding activity that continued till the last minutes of the sale.

At the auction, close to 600 registered bidders from all over the world competed against each other for the works of some of India’s most prominent artists.

Gupta’s work rose far above the expectations of Rs.8-10 million at the auction held Wednesday and Thursday, proving that young artists were taking over from the masters.
On June 11, Gupta had moved into the record making million dollar bracket with the sale of his untitled installation of steel pots for $1.2 million at Christie’s sale of Indian contemporary art in London.
Raza, whose work was estimated to fetch Rs.27.5-37.5 million, settled for second place with Rs.42 million at the Saffronart sale.
F.N. Souza’s image of a nude woman went for a winning bid of Rs.16.3 million. Of the 12 Husains, three went unsold and the highest bid was Rs.15 million. Cerebral artist T.V. Santosh’s work went for Rs.5.6 million and Bose Krishnamachari’s “Plot” sold for Rs.3.4 million.
One of Atul Dodiya’s works went unsold but the other attracted a bid of Rs.8 million. Among Jogen Chowdhury’s seven works, only one was sold.
“We have to recognize that people who purchase Indian art constitute a very different buyer base. These buyers purchase, particularly at the top end, from accumulated wealth and not from earnings. So, I think the market is good for superlative works,” said Dinesh Vazirani, co-founder and director of Saffronart.
He added: “While the results of this sale were stellar across the board, the fact that three of the top five lots were by modern Indian artists demonstrates a heartening resurgence in demand for premium modern works.
“This sale also marked the successful launch of our new auction technology, which is the first of its kind globally, and makes the bidder’s online experience as convenient as possible.”

Art market powers ahead despite credit woes

By Deborah Brewster in New York. Source : The Financial Times, June 21, 2008

Sales in the art market this week exceeded even the most optimistic expectations, with buyers at major New York sales defying widespread fears of a market slump as a result of the credit crisis.
Sotheby’s had its biggest sale ever by dollar value on Wednesday night, selling $362m worth of contemporary works. It sold a 1976 painting by Francis Bacon, “Triptych, 1976” for $86m, easily exceeding its estimate of $70m. The price was the highest ever paid for a contemporary work at auction. Bacon’s works would only fetch about $10m each a few years ago but the latest prices put the artist, who died in 1992, in the same price league as Picasso. Like many of his works, the triptych — which attracted three bidders — featured a distorted human form and was inspired by Greek mythology.
The previous night, Christie’s sold Lucian Freud’s “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping”, a painting of a voluptuous JobCentre supervisor, for $33.6m, setting a new record for the work of a living artist. It also sold a 1952 work by Mark Rothko, “No 15”, for $50m, which was above its $40m estimate. Christie’s sale generated $348m in total.
The final prices do include a buyers’ commission of more than 12 per cent which is not included in the estimates. But the results were surprisingly strong and confirmed the ascendancy of contemporary art, which has firmly supplanted the Impressionist and Old Masters works favoured by the previous generation of collectors.

The prices also support the view that the art market has become increasingly global, with buyers from new markets such as India, China and the Middle East, which provides a depth of support which was lacking in previous market booms.

The New York contemporary sales this week followed solid Impressionist and Modern auctions last week. Together, the two main auction houses sold close to $2bn in artworks during the two-week season - about 25 per cent more than last year. Sotheby’s and Christie’s each hold about 600 auctions a year, but the most expensive works usually sell during the May and November auctions in New York.
On the strength of the May sales, the two auction houses are already promoting their June sales of Impressionist and contemporary art in London.

mardi 17 juin 2008

Cinéma : l'indien Reliance prendrait une participation chez DreamWorks

Source : Le Monde, 18.06.08
Le groupe indien de télécommunications Reliance ADA Group va investir de 500 à 600 millions de dollars dans DreamWorks SKG, pour aider les studios fondés par Steven Spielberg à retrouver leur indépendance, affirme mardi le Wall Street Journal sur son site internet.
DreamWorks est détenu depuis 2006 par le groupe de médias Viacom, mais M. Spielberg et son partenaire David Geffen ont fait valoir qu'ils comptaient reprendre leur liberté dès que leur contrat leur permettrait.
La séparation pourrait intervenir dans le courant de cette année.
L'accord avec Reliance verrait le groupe indien prendre "une participation importante" dans le nouveau DreamWorks indépendant, ajoute le quotidien économique, qui cite des "personnes proches du dossier".
Après le divorce avec Viacom, DreamWorks SKG conserverait son nom actuel, mais devra renoncer aux droits des films produits pendant la courte période passée dans le giron du groupe de médias.
Outre l'apport de Reliance, DreamWorks aurait besoin de lever quelque 500 millions de dollars supplémentaires, de quoi financer une demi-douzaine de films par an, ajoute le Wall Street Journal.
DreamWorks est spécialisée dans la réalisation de films "classiques", tels que "Il faut sauver le soldat Ryan". Son ancienne division spécialisée dans les dessins animés, DreamWorks Animation SKG, qui est l'auteur de grands succès du box-office comme "Shrek" et "Kung-Fu Panda", est géré de manière indépendante et ses productions continueront à être distribuées par Paramount, les studios du groupe Viacom.

samedi 14 juin 2008

Tina Ambani pays record $2.5m at Christie’s Indian art auction

Source : Fortune, June 12, 2008
Anil Ambani hasn’t been seen in public much since his Mumbai-based Reliance Communications started negotiating to merge with MTN, the South African telecoms company last month. However, both he and Amitabh Jhunjhunwala, his group managing director and close adviser, have put in brief appearances at Christie’s art auction rooms in London during the past few days, where Tina Ambani, Anil’s wife, has been exhibiting.
Wednesday a selection of paintings collected by Tina Ambani’s Harmony Art Foundation formed part of a Christie’s auction of modern and contemporary South Asian art that netted $10.6 million (including auctioneer’s premium).
Harmony stole the show by paying a record $2.5 million for a work by F.N.Souza – 56% higher than the previous record price for any modern Indian work- in addition to selling six paintings.
A film star before her marriage, Tin Ambani is modest about her background in Indian art, even though her annual Harmony shows in Mumbai of younger as well as established artists have become well known over the past 12 years. “I am not academically well-versed in art but I go with instinct,” she told me.

Proceeds from the works Harmony sold yesterday will go to help young artists. The objective of the Harmony foundation and its exhibitions, says Ambani, is to “provide centre stage for emerging artists.” Two projects include reviving old Warli tribal art in the Indian state of Maharashtra and fine Pichwai paintings in Rajasthan.

Souza, who died in 2002, was one of India’s greatest modern artists, along with others that include M.F.Husain and Tyeb Mehta. The work bought by Ambani’s Harmony is a monumental (8ft by 4ft) painting called “Birth” that embraces many of Souza’s main themes of extravagant female nudes, gaunt male faces, still life, religion and townscapes. Christie’s put an estimate of $1.2-$1.6 million on the work, but Yamini Mehta, a specialist in Indian art at the auction house, refused to guess in advance what it might go for. “Putting a value on it is rather like trying to value the Mona Lisa” she said.
The buyer is listed by Christie’s as “anonymous”, but at the auction yesterday I saw Preeti Ambani, a cousin of Anil Ambani and president of the Harmony Art Foundation, make the successful bid.
Two other records were also set at the auction. A Tyeb Mehta painting, part of a dramatic series he has done to mark the miseries of rickshaw pullers, went for $1.9 million, beating his previous record price of nearly $1.6 million paid in a New York auction in 2005. India’s leading contemporary artist, Subodh Gupta, hit a personal record of $1.2 million for a large installation of stainless steel kitchen pots and pans. Last month, his painting of a man pulling an airport luggage trolley was auctioned by Christie’s for almost $1.2 million in Hong Kong, which set a new record for India’s younger contemporary artists.
M.F.Husain, now aged 92 and the doyen of the Indian “progressive” painting group that started in the 1950s, also hit a record price recently for a monumental work, “Battle of Ganga and Jamuna.” This was sold for $1.6 million in New York in March, beating Mehta’s 2005 figure and holding the India world record till yesterday.
These sales underline claims by Christie’s and other auction houses that Asian art is bucking the current economic gloom and recovering after some leveling off in prices last year. ArtTactic, which surveys the art market, said last month that, after a 38% drop in auction volume last year, the modern Indian art market was regaining some of the confidence it had lost.
Several other Husain and Souza paintings however did not do well in yesterday’s auction, along with those of another prominent “progressive”, Syed Haidar Raza. More than 15 of their works failed to meet reserve prices and were not sold, though Hugo Weihe, Christie’s international director for Asian art, says there is already interest in a key Raza work, “La Terre”, to be auctioned in London on June 30 for about $2 million.
This shows that it is younger contemporary artists like Subodh Gupta, Atul Dodiya, T.V.Santosh, and Rameshwar Broota who are grabbing the attention of buyers at international auctions. Only the best works of the older modern artists are doing well, as buyers become more discerning.
Modern Indian art started to hit high prices about four or five years ago, driven by sales to overseas Indians (NRIs) who wanted to display their wealth and origins on the walls of their smart pads, usually in the U.S.A. There was little concern for quality. ”Every new collector wanted an Husain,” says Weihe.
It is no longer the NRIs who are driving the prices – even though yesterday’s Tyeb Mehta went to someone of Indian origin living in the U.S. Collectors of other nationalities are now moving in, along with art funds and museums, attracted partly by prices that are far below the $9 million achieved by leading Chinese works. India’s growing visibility internationally in business and other areas is also helping to focus attention.
Buyers are coming from China and elsewhere in East Asia, as well as from Dubai, where Arab collectors are looking for new cultures, and Europe. In Britain, interest is growing. Charles Saatchi, famous for his advertising agency and as an art collector, is launching a new London (Chelsea) gallery this summer with an Indian contemporary exhibition titled “The Empire Strikes Back.” A large Manchester gallery is showing “A Passage to India”, and extravagant prices are being demanded by smaller galleries.

Souza`s Birth sells for record Rs 10.6 cr

Source : Businness Standard, Kishore Singh / New Delhi June 13, 2008

It's a somewhat ironic truism that every time the markets act shaky, the price of art begins to zip-zap-zoom. So when the Sensex in India began to crumble, punters could have pointed out with reasonable surety that the Christie's auction of South Asian modern and contemporary art in London on Wednesday afternoon would deliver some surprising results.
But even they couldn't have anticipated the leapfrogging prices, and certainly not that a single work of art, a 1955 painting by FN Souza called Birth, would deliver a harvest of Rs 10.6 crore. At $2.48 million, it is the highest price ever paid for a painting by an Indian artist, and bests Christie's previous record of $1.6 million for Tyeb Mehta's Mahisasura in 2005.
At the same venue, Tyeb Mehta's Untitled work of a figure on a rickshaw too grossed Rs 8.2 crore, easily his highest at a public sale.
The total take from the London auction was $25,825,146, and set world auction records for 12 artists that included, besides Souza and Mehta, Indian artists Subodh Gupta (Rs 5 crore, his highest for an Untitled sculpture), Ashim Purkayastha (Rs 91 lakh), Justin Ponmany (Rs 91 lakh), Nataraj Sharma, Navjot Altaf, HG Arunkumar, Dhruvi Acharya, Amjad Ali Talpur, and for Pakistani artists Anwar Saeed and Mudassar Manzoor.
Christie's international director for Indian art, Hugo Weihe, was ecstatic, claiming the auction "demonstrates the exciting growth of this market", and that "London is a key platform for the category".
But New Delhi-based gallerist Arun Vadehra at least wasn't surprised by the results. "It's amazing, yes," he confirmed from London post the sale, "but it's clearly a quality painting by Souza of the kind that hasn't appeared in the market before." "A Souza of this scale hasn't ever before been in an auction," agrees Ganieve Grewal, representative, Christie's India. "Souza was known for his portraiture, landscapes and still life, and this painting has all three elements, so artistically it is a very striking piece."
That its provenance has a history that shows its inclusion for a Guggenheim award, could hardly have hurt the final validation of the price it fetched.
But still: Rs 10.6 crore? "Souza," reasons Vadehra, "was a colleague of Francis Bacon, whose work sold last year for $6 million, so why should Souza's work fall behind anyone else's?" Extolling the Tyeb Mehta record-breaking painting too as a work of rare quality, he insists that similar works by SH Raza or MF Husain could command as much just as easily "because there are people out there with money who want the best quality".
"I know of this painting by Souza at the Tate Museum that, if it ever sold in the market, would easily fetch $5 million, and there is a Tyeb Mehta triptych at the National Gallery of Modern Art that could as easily fetch $10 million."
Vadehra joins a growing band of gallerists who claim that the market for Indian art had not turned sluggish in recent times but was reacting to works of poor quality. "Overall, works by modern artists have broken previous records in the last few years," points out Grewal. "People are willing to pay for good work."
Meanwhile, at Christie's, they're rubbing their hands in glee. "We are now looking forward to offering Syed Haider Raza's La Terre at Christie's London Post War and Contemporary Art Evening sale on 30 June," says Hugo Weihe. "It's another fantastic, museum-quality work," says Grewal from London, "we think it will sell at a record price too." Art sellers, or those consigning their works for auction, must also be hoping that the stock market stays crazy — at least till then.
That its provenance has a history that shows its inclusion for a Guggenheim award, could hardly have hurt the final validation of the price it fetched.
But still: Rs 10.6 crore? "Souza," reasons Vadehra, "was a colleague of Francis Bacon, whose work sold last year for $6 million, so why should Souza's work fall behind anyone else's?" Extolling the Tyeb Mehta record-breaking painting too as a work of rare quality, he insists that similar works by SH Raza or MF Husain could command as much just as easily "because there are people out there with money who want the best quality".
"I know of this painting by Souza at the Tate Museum that, if it ever sold in the market, would easily fetch $5 million, and there is a Tyeb Mehta triptych at the National Gallery of Modern Art that could as easily fetch $10 million."
Vadehra joins a growing band of gallerists who claim that the market for Indian art had not turned sluggish in recent times but was reacting to works of poor quality.
"Overall, works by modern artists have broken previous records in the last few years," points out Grewal. "People are willing to pay for good work."Meanwhile, at Christie's, they're rubbing their hands in glee.
"We are now looking forward to offering Syed Haider Raza's La Terre at Christie's London Post War and Contemporary Art Evening sale on 30 June," says Hugo Weihe. "It's another fantastic, museum-quality work," says Grewal from London, "we think it will sell at a record price too."
Art sellers, or those consigning their works for auction, must also be hoping that the stock market stays crazy — at least till then.

Record price for Indian painting

Source BBC News, Friday, 13 June 2008

A sale of a painting by the late Indian painter Francis Newton Souza has set a record for an Indian work of art.
Souza's 1955 work, Birth, was sold for £1,273,250 ($2,519,762) at an auction of modern South Asian art at Christie's earlier this week.
It set a new "world auction record for the artist and for any Indian modern art and contemporary work of art," according to a Christie's official.
Souza, who died in 2002, was born in Goa and lived in London and New York.
Known for his bold compositions, Souza is the only Indian artist to have a room dedicated to his works at Tate Britain.
The painting was with a private collection in the United States.
Souza was the founder of a group of influential Indian artists called the Progressive Artists Group to encourage new forms of art.
Set up in 1947 in Mumbai, the group counted such leading artists as SH Raza, MF Husain, SK Bakre, Akbar Padamsee and Tyeb Mehta.
Indian art critic Madhu Jain said Souza's work have always fetched high prices in auctions.
"He was controversial and ahead of his times. He is one of the most significant Indian artists," she said.
Christie's said in a statement that Wednesday's auction of the works of 50 of South Asia's leading modern and contemporary art fetched over £5,000,000.
It said that 12 artists' records were set in total at the auction.

vendredi 13 juin 2008

Bose Krishnamachari, ambassadeur de l’art contemporain indien

Source : Aujourd'hui, l'Inde, 13/6/2008 par Julia Ocir
Bose Krishnamachari est une des étoiles montantes de l’art contemporain indien. Ses toiles, reconnaissables à leur juxtaposition de couleurs criardes, se vendent aux quatre coins du monde. il prépare actuellement une exposition à Londres.

Oeuvre de Bose Krishnamachari, Bombay, mai 2008.
L'artiste dans son atelier de Bombay Des bouts de bois, des journaux, des bouteilles de plastiques, et des miroirs jonchent le sol de l'atelier. Plusieurs peintres s'activent autour d'une toile pendant qu'une assistante répond au téléphone qui n'arrête pas de sonner. "Je crée à partir du chaos, et Bombay, ma principale source d'inspiration, me fournit la matière première", déclare Bose Krishnamachari, le maître des lieux, chauve, les yeux brillants encadrés de petites lunettes rouges, un t-shirt jaune criard. "Je me nourris de ses contradictions, je joue avec ses excès", analyse Bose. Ses tableaux sont des patchworks aux textures et aux couleurs variées. De l'abstraction minimaliste au réalisme figuratif, son œuvre, comme Bombay, échappe à toute définition, mais dégage un optimisme sans borne et un enthousiasme communicatif.
Bose vit à Borivali dans le nord de la péninsule de Bombay, un quartier prisé par l'avant-garde artistique car le mètre carré reste relativement abordable. Dans son atelier, qui foisonne toujours d'activité, on croise de nombreux jeunes artistes en vogue comme le peintre Riyas Komu et le musicien indo-anglais Talvin Singh. Pendant longtemps le nom de Bose a été associé aux folles nuits de la capitale économique et culturelle de l'Inde, mais après son mariage et la naissance de son fils, l'artiste est devenu plus casanier. "Les opposés s'attirent, dit-il en souriant. Ma femme est inspecteur des impôts, elle m'apporte stabilité et sérénité. Nous nous sommes rencontrés grâce à une agence matrimoniale, mais lors de notre premier rendez-vous nous avons réalisé que nous nous connaissions déjà car j'étais à l'école avec son frère."
Avec la maturité sont venus les grands projets. Bose est en train de faire construire un musée à Cochin, sa ville natale, dans le Kerala au sud ouest de l'Inde. Le projet peut paraitre un peu pharaonique mais Bose a les moyens de ses ambitions. De New York à Paris en passant par Dubaï, ses toiles s'arrachent à près de 40 000 dollars. Il est un des nouveaux chouchous des prestigieuses maisons de ventes Sotheby's et Christie's.
"Le Kerala est un Etat particulièrement riche culturellement mais qui, comme tout le pays, manque cruellement d'infrastructures", déplore Bose tout en découpant des morceaux de ferrailles qu'il place sur un gigantesque mobile destiné au musée. "Puisque l'Etat n'est pas capable ou n'a pas la volonté de mettre en œuvre une véritable politique culturelle, les artistes se débrouillent comme ils peuvent et les initiatives se multiplient. Je n'attends plus rien de personne et je ne fais plus de compromis", ajoute-t-il. Bose met en cause le peu de musées dédiés à l'art contemporain et le manque d'espace mis à la disposition des artistes. "Du coup c'est à l'étranger, à Londres, Paris ou New York, que les plus belles expositions d'artistes contemporains indiens ont lieu", déplore Bose.

Le peintre a toujours été un activiste, il milite pour la promotion de l'art moderne dans son pays depuis l'Université. Pour lui, si les artistes indiens sont aujourd'hui à l'honneur c'est parce que le marché de l'art sait où se trouvent les nouvelles fortunes. "Les nouveaux riches achètent des œuvres d'art pour le prestige et comme un portefeuille d'actions. Ce sont des clients qui achètent des noms, pas des amateurs d'art". Bose continue donc de se battre pour que les artistes indiens aient ce qu'ils méritent : des revues, des critiques, et un public connaisseur.

vendredi 6 juin 2008

Placements : les meilleures pistes présentées par cinq experts

Source Les Echos Samedi 7 juin 2008 - Propos recueillis par François Le Brun

Dans les secteurs de la Bourse, de l' immobilier résidentiel, de la pierre papier et de l'art, il existe encore des opportunités pour investir, d'après notre Cercle du Patrimoine
Deux nouvelles en provenance des marchés, une bonne et une mauvaise. La bonne : l'activité a plutôt bien résisté. La mauvaise, elle a plutôt bien résisté... dans les pays émergents. Ces derniers donnent désormais le " la " de la croissance mondiale. Dès lors, comment se mettre au diapason ? C'est toute la question qui se pose à nous, pauvres ressortissants des pays développés. Il s'agit de déterminer avec quels placements nous pourrons à l'avenir nous procurer les rendements nécessaires au financement de nos besoins quotidiens. Cette interrogation a sous-tendu les échanges tenus lors de notre dernier Cercle du patrimoine, organisé sous les auspices de HSBC Private Bank. Pour y répondre, avaient été réunis des spécialistes de l'immobilier, de la Bourse, de l'art, du " private equity " et de la fiscalité. Il s'agissait de Jean-Pierre Petit, directeur de la recherche économique et de la stratégie d'Exane BNP Paribas, Valérie Guillen, directrice du pôle investissements et arbitrages d'UFG REM, Patrice Bonduelle, notaire à Paris, Samuel Valette, spécialiste en art impressionniste et moderne chez Sotheby's, et Jérôme Barré, avocat responsable du département fiscalité patrimoniale chez Franklin.

Commençons par l'analyse macro : où en est l'économie mondiale neuf mois après le déclenchement de la crise des " subprimes " ?

Jean-Pierre Petit. - Je qualifierai l'environnement par deux termes : " résistance " et " découplage ". Nous voyons bien que la croissance mondiale résiste. Dans les pays riches, elle résiste mieux que ce que certains avaient annoncé, et surtout elle est principalement alimentée par le monde émergent. On pouvait douter de cette donnée au début de la crise financière. Maintenant, elle est difficilement contestable.
La croissance mondiale sera donc plus faible que l'an dernier. Nous allons perdre presque un point de croissance, avec 4 % contre 4,8 % en 2007. Mais, eu égard aux deux chocs importants que nous subissons, la crise financière et la hausse du prix des matières premières, la résistance de l'économie mondiale est élevée. Elle l'est notamment aux Etats-Unis, où le PIB a progressé au premier trimestre en pleine crise des " subprimes ". Pourtant, l'investissement résidentiel baisse de 25 % en rythme annuel, la baisse réelle cumulée des prix est de 17 %. Compte tenu de la tendance à venir, cela va en faire le plus grand " bear market " immobilier de l'Histoire.
La seconde caractéristique est le découplage : l'Histoire n'est plus écrite dans les pays riches. Nous sommes induits en erreur par notre fausse croissance. Elle est alimentée par la dette des ménages et par la bulle immobilière. En réalité, l'essentiel de l'Histoire s'écrit déjà dans les pays émergents. Cela est évident pour les flux avec les fonds souverains, les multinationales émergentes et les fonds institutionnels. Le transfert du pouvoir est économique, technologique et politique.

Tout cela n'est pas forcément une bonne nouvelle pour les pays du Nord !

Jean-Pierre Petit. - Effectivement, la contrepartie négative pour nous de ce phénomène est la hausse du prix des matières premières. Et cela va durer pour toute une série de raisons structurelles : le sous-investissement des quinze ou vingt dernières années, la demande croissante et simultanée d'un grand nombre de pays émergents importants, la financiarisation des matières premières, la baisse du dollar en termes effectifs, la consolidation du secteur... Les sociétés qui prospèrent actuellement et qui vont poursuivre leur croissance pendant les prochaines années seront celles qui ont un " pricing power " (pouvoir d'imposer leurs tarifs). Aujourd'hui, si vous croyez à l'inflation, il faut jouer ces sociétés : ce sont en particulier les mines ou les aciéries.

Cette hausse ne va-t-elle pas provoquer une récession mondiale?

Jean-Pierre Petit. - Je ne suis pas d'accord avec ceux qui prétendent cela. En effet, j'ai des prévisions qui anticipent un baril à 135 dollars au deuxième semestre 2008 et à 150 dollars en 2009 ; nous sommes pourtant à 4 % de croissance. Il ne faut pas oublier que les pays riches sont moins vulnérables qu'il y a trente ans. De plus, les pays qui bénéficient de la hausse du prix du pétrole en font bénéficier les autres en achetant plus. Il y a donc toute une série de facteurs qui font que le choc des prix des matières n'est pas si récessif que prévu.

Il n'empêche. Nous voyons de plus en plus de personnes qui font la grimace en passant à la pompe. Nous ne pouvons pas concevoir qu'il n'y ait pas d'impact !
Jean-Pierre Petit. - Mais nous ne faisons plus l'Histoire. C'est triste pour les consommateurs ; c'est directement récessif, parce que cela impacte le pouvoir d'achat et parce que les salaires ne sont plus indexés sur l'inflation. C'est pour cette raison que nous sommes perdants ; mais, nous ne sommes plus représentatifs de l'économie mondiale.
Cette année, nous aurons à peine 1,5 % en France pendant que le monde enregistrera une croissance de 4 %, et les marchés d'actifs risqués sont principalement indexés sur la croissance mondiale et non plus sur la croissance européenne ou sur la croissance américaine.

L'immobilier professionnel résiste bien
Dans l'immobilier, ça bouge aussi, mais les événements sont-ils de même ampleur qu'avec les matières premières ?
Valérie Guillen. - Dans l'immobilier d'entreprise, qui concerne les porteurs de parts de SCPI, mon analyse rejoint celle de Jean-Pierre Petit : nous constatons que le marché immobilier professionnel résiste assez bien aux perturbations de la crise financière. Grâce à leurs qualités intrinsèques, les actifs sous-jacents n'ont pas vu leurs prix s'effondrer de façon brutale.
En effet, le marché immobilier d'entreprise a décollé au début des années 2000 alors que les immeubles de bureaux présentaient des revenus réguliers, une certaine protection contre l'inflation, des valorisations raisonnables et surtout une décorrélation par rapport au marché des actifs financiers. Cette classe d'actifs s'est alors beaucoup développée. La crise financière a, d'une part, écarté de ce marché les investisseurs qui opéraient avec des effets de levier importants (un fort endettement). Aujourd'hui, découragées par les conditions de financement qui leur sont proposoées, ils restent en retrait. D'autre part, certains propriétaires fonciers hésitent à proposer leurs actifs sur le marché, parce qu'ils pensent ne pas en obtenir le prix qu'ils souhaitent. En revanche, pour des investisseurs dotés de fonds propres, comme les mutuelles, les assureurs ou les SCPI, le marché est beaucoup moins spéculatif et propose toujours des opportunités d'investissement intéressantes.
En termes de prix, 2007 a été l'année de tous les records puisque certains actifs des quartiers d'affaires à Paris se sont négociés à des taux de rentabilité inférieurs à 4 %. C'est-à-dire inférieurs auxtaux sans risque des emprunts d'Etat. Aujourd'hui, les investisseurs ont revu à la hausse leurs objectifs de taux de rendement et l'on assiste à un rééchelonnement des prix en fonction des caractéristiques de l'actif : emplacement, qualité du locataire, normes environnementales... Ainsi face aux sommets de 2007, les prix semblent avoir diminué de 4 à 10 % selon les premières observations. Ces ajustements devraient toutefois rester limités si la crise financière ne se transmet pas trop brutalement à l'économie réelle.

Pourtant, dès que nous levons les yeux, nous voyons des panneaux " à louer " partout. C'est un critère !
Valérie Guillen. - Nous observons effectivement un certain attentisme des utilisateurs : un allongement des délais de négociation des baux, un report des prises de décision de déménagement. Au cours des dernières années, l'indexation des loyers a été plus forte que l'évolution des valeurs locatives de marché. Aujourd'hui, nous pouvons observer un écart de 5 à 10 % pour des locataires installés depuis six ans. Comme alternative à un déménagement, ceux-ci pourraient envisager de renégocier leurs loyers à la baisse. Le propriétaire, en acceptant d'adapter son loyer pour trouver un accord avec son locataire pérennise son revenu. Il perdra peut-être quelques points d'indexation, mais il va économiser des frais liés à la vacance, aux travaux de remise en état locatif, etc.
Par conséquent, le ralentissement économique devrait nous conduire à une stabilisation des valeurs locatives. Cependant, le taux de vacance observé en Ile-de-France autour de 5 % reste un des plus faibles d'Europe. Les prévisions de commercialisation des surfaces vacantes pour 2008 restent encourageantes et devraient nous amener au niveau des chiffres de 2005. Quant à l'offre future, elle semble également être maîtrisée et s'ajuste légèrement à la baisse, traduisant la prudence des acteurs du marché soucieux d'adapter l'offre à la demande.

Un marché de l'art en surchauffe?
Sur le marché de l'art, à en juger par les prix atteints dernièrement chez Christie's, nous devinons que vous êtes euphoriques !
Samuel Valette. - Dans mon domaine, l'art impressionniste et moderne, la vente organisée à Londres en février dernier a obtenu le plus grand résultat jamais réalisé en Europe avec des taux de vente extraordinaires. Suivie en mai, à New York, de la plus grande vente d'art contemporain de l'histoire de Sotheby's. Nous sommes vraiment à de très hauts niveaux de prix et de qualité.
Depuis les cinq dernières années, nous observons que les quatre plus hauts prix réalisés lors de ventes aux enchères d'oeuvres d'art reviennent à Pablo Picasso avec " Garçon à la pipe " et " Dora Maar au chat " en 2004 et 2006, Rothko en 2007 et Bacon en 2008.
Evidemment, beaucoup de professionnels se demandent quand cela va s'arrêter. Nous ne pouvons pas imaginer que cela continue à grimper indéfiniment. Certains commentateurs comparent cette flambée des prix à la crise des années 1980, période où la hausse s'était arrêtée brutalement après un fort emballement du marché.
En fait, je rejoins un peu ce que disait M. Petit dans son analyse macroéconomique. Par rapport à la fin des années 1980, il y a aujourd'hui de nouvelles zones géographiques qui sont devenues des acteurs actifs du marché de l'art comme la Russie ou l'Inde et entrent en compétition avec les acheteurs traditionnels. Cette globalisation des collectionneurs protège le marché de l'art d'une chute brutale.

Pourtant, en mars dernier, il semble que les ventes d'art contemporain n'aient pas atteint les niveaux attendus...
Samuel Valette. - Le marché est très sain mais il arrive que des oeuvres restent invendues car les estimations étaient trop optimistes. N'oublions pas que nous travaillons sur des oeuvres uniques, et chacune d'entre elles doit être estimée et son marché analysé en tant que tel. Aujourd'hui cependant, la demande pour les meilleures oeuvres n'a jamais été aussi forte, il n'y a donc aucun nuage à l'horizon de ce côté là.

Il est vrai qu'avec l'essor des pays émergents, apparaissent de nouveaux acheteurs.
Samuel Valette. - Les ventes d'art russes ont progressé de 3.000 % depuis 2000 ; les ventes d'art asiatique à Hong Kong ont été multipliées par quatre depuis 2001. Ces spécialités bénéficient ainsi directement de l'augmentation du pouvoir d'achat et de la constitution de fortunes dans ces pays.

En Bourse, il faut acheter les actions lorsqu'elles sont basses. Mais, quel serait votre conseil pour le marché de l'art ?
Samuel Valette. - Avant tout, il faut acheter ce qui plaît. Si l'on doit parler d'un domaine particulier, la sculpture connaît ces dernières années un renouveau dans sa création et sa cote. Les prix ont longtemps été inférieurs à ceux réalisés par les tableaux, même si aujourd'hui, un chef-d'oeuvre en sculpture peut rivaliser avec un tableau./.../ Concernant ce que vous disiez sur l'art comme classe d'actifs, il est vrai qu'il était extrêmement peu exploité ; il y a toujours eu une grande prudence en abordant ce type de produits. Nous ne voyons dans la période un peu euphorique que nous connaissons que des fonds spécialisés en provenance de pays émergents. Il est vrai que les écarts sur des tableaux acquis il y a dix ans et vendus aujourd'hui peuvent faire rêver. " Les Filles sur le pont " de Munch a été vendu en mai pour 30 millions de dollars, alors qu'il avait été acheté en 1997 pour 7 millions de dollars. Il faut toutefois prendre cela avec des pincettes, parce que cela dépend de l'évolution du marché de manière générale. Je ne pense pas que ce sont des produits qui s'adaptent au goût des investisseurs.
Jean-Pierre Petit. - N'oublions pas un critère clef de l'investissement qui est la liquidité, que nous avons un peu tendance à oublier. Aujourd'hui, le marché action est le plus liquide du monde ; il y a aussi de la liquidité pour les matières premières ; il faut aller vers cela pour l'art, parce qu'il a énormément de potentiel.
Samuel Valette. - Pour terminer sur une note positive, je dirais au sujet du marché de l'art qu'il n'y a probablement jamais eu de meilleure période pour acheter ou vendre que la période actuelle. Les prix très élevés font sortir des oeuvres exceptionnelles qui font elles-mêmes monter les prix ; nous sommes donc actuellement dans une sorte de cercle vertueux.

Know Your South Asian Art

Source New York Magazine, 6/6/08 by Andrew M. Goldstein

Arpita Singh's Fifteen Clouds Three Flower (2006-2007)
Courtesy of Christie's

As the euro-smug international art world continues to drop millions on chalet décor at this week's Art Basel in Switzerland, American collectors at the fair — and there are fewer than usual this year — have been talking excitedly about the bargain investment opportunities presented by a relatively untapped market: contemporary Indian art. Pegged as the next phenomenon to catch fire among international collectors, Indian art is also about to receive a prominent platform next Wednesday when work by the hottest artists goes on the block at Christie's South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art auction in London. For those whose grasp of the field doesn't extend beyond Anish Kapoor (who's based in London anyway), here's a quick primer on the heavies of Indian art.
Subodh Gupta
Born in 1964, Gupta is both one of the most recognizable and the most Pop-friendly artists to emerge from the vibrant New Delhi scene — and as a result one of the priciest. Sharing Kapoor's affinity for shiny surfaces, he's best known for building art out of the ubiquitous stainless-steel containers that Indians use for transporting food, either painting them, casting them, or, most striking, forming them into imposing sculptures like Very Hungry God, a gleaming cookware skull. At Christie's another such sculpture is expected to fetch up to $1 million, and a triptych painting of his already sold for that price on Basel's opening day.

Anju Dodiya's Untitled (1993)
Courtesy of Christie's
Atul Dodiya A painter and multimedia artist based in Mumbai, Dodiya makes melancholy works that bring together imagery from India's past — Gandhi makes frequent cameo appearances — with the present, such as depicting the many-limbed Hindu goddess Durba as an airport metal detector. A member with Gupta of the so-called Bombay Boys, India's answer to the YBAs, Dodiya also forms one half of an estimable power couple with his wife, the artist Anju Dodiya (whose work, on sale at Christie's next week, is pictured, left).
Nalini Malani
One of India's most provocatively political artists, Malani draws on sources ranging from Lewis Carroll to Greek myths to address what she sees as political and intellectual stagnation in her country as well as India's hot-button nuclear program. One well-known 2003 work, Game Pieces, features an apocalyptic slideshow created by streaming light through rotating cylinders that display animal and human figures alternated with mushroom clouds.

Arpita Singh
A painter whose flattened and brightly colorful works suggest Matisse or Frida Kahlo gone Bollywood, Singh specializes in domestic scenes that provide an intimate glimpse of the interior lives of women, sometimes wryly, sometimes to tragic effect. Her enigmatic yet accessible oils, often featuring Giottoesque floating figures and scattered toys, have made her one of the most widely known artists in India.

M.F. Husain
At 91 years old the elder statesman of Indian art, Husain had worked steadily as a painter since the thirties, turning out a massive body of inventive work that has won him long-standing comparisons to Picasso. Despite his prominence in the country for so many years, Hussein had to flee into exile in Dubai after coming under fire from conservative critics in 1996 for a series of nude paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses — that he had made in the seventies. Last month a judge in New Delhi finally threw out an obscenity case lodged against Husain, declaring that the artist should return home and continue his work. In March a painting by Husain fetched $1.6 million at Christie's in New York amid protests from detractors camped outside the auction house.

mardi 3 juin 2008

A new wave of Indian artists

Source : Emirates Business Reena Amos Dyes on Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Indian art is much in demand as the world wakes up to its merit and this is evident by the fact that Christie's, one of the most reputed auction houses in the world, is holding a sale of South Asian Modern and Contemporary Art.
The auction that will be held in London on Wednesday June 11 will offer works from the leading 20th and 21st century artists from India and Pakistan.
However, the pick of the lot will be works by Francis Newton Souza, Tyeb Mehta and Subodh Gupta. While the modern work is represented by Souza and Mehta, the contemporary artists are led by Subodh Gupta.
Yamini Mehta, director, modern and contemporary indian art at Christie's London told Emirates Business: "These offerings by Francis Newton Souza, Tyeb Mehta and
Subodh Gupta in the auction display the dazzling breadth and variety in the field of Indian art. Francis Newton Souza's Birth is one of the most exciting and important works by the master to ever come into the market.
"Souza was an intellectual, who founded the Progressive Artists Group in Mumbai that developed International Modernism in India. His work is a significant psychological portrait that is highly autobiographical by including elements of his religious upbringing, his family life and his travels."
Birth, dated 1955 is expected to fetch between Dh4.5 million to Dh6 million at the auction.
This painting exemplifies the artistic essence of Souza and is the property of a private American collection. This painting was submitted for The Guggenheim Painting Award in 1958 and was also part of London Commonwealth Institute of Art's Indian Painting Now touring exhibition in 1965.

In 2005 Souza became the only Indian artist to have a room dedicated to his works at the Tate gallery in Britain.
Yamini Mehta continued: "Another Indian master Tyeb Mehta, is also affiliated with the Indian Progressive Group. Heavily influenced by Francis Bacon and Barnett Newmann, he is perhaps the least prolific of his contemporaries, Souza and Maqbool Fida Husain, and therefore his works are highly sought after by collectors.
"The untitled painting of a rickshaw-puller (a man who pulls a cart with a passenger sitting in the back) sitting on his cart is a poignant and sympathetic portrayal of the common labourer.
"His experiences in Kolkata in the 1980's are indelibly linked to the further development of the rickshaw theme.
"The city is one of the last bastions where rickshaw-pullers still operate in the winding inner-city alleyways bowed by the necessity of their labours."
Tyeb Mehta's painting of the rickshaw-puller is expected to fetch Dh2.1 million to Dh3.6 million. Mehta's iconic Rickshaw series while underscoring the anonymity and isolation of the common labourers also reflect his own disillusionment with the world around him.
The powerful content of Mehta's works is heightened by his unique formal treatment of the canvas. It exemplifies Mehta's post-cubist style - employing minimal lines and opaque masses of colour to create single dominating forms.
Yamini Mehta said: "In the contemporary segment it is Subodh Gupta who is dominating the show.
"Subodh Gupta is one of India's most exciting artists today who has now reached international levels of recognition. Christie's just made a record price for his work last week with a painting that sold for Dh4 million. Featuring on the front cover of Christie's catalogue for the first time, his gleaming untitled work is a mass of the ubiquitous stainless steel vessels featured in everyday life throughout India.
"The work is part of series that serves as social commentary on the dichotomies of wealth and poverty, urban and rural, asceticism and consumerism, as well as caste issues."
Subodh Gupta's untitled work which is made of stainless steel is the star lot amongst the contemporary art offered and is estimated to realise between Dh2.1 million and Dh 3.6 million.
Epitomising his artistic vocabulary, which is firmly rooted in everyday India, this work is made of stainless steel kitchen utensils like milk pails, lunchboxes, glasses, tongs, etc which are familiar to all echelons of Indian society.
Gupta sees these commodities as symbolising India's struggle for an equilibrium between urban and rural; wealth and poverty; socialism and capitalism; low caste and high caste and religion and secularism.
Such rare works don't come by easily and with art becoming a very lucrative investment this is a good time to snap it up before they disappear into a private collection.

dimanche 1 juin 2008

Soon, art haat in India

Source The Times of India 1 Jun 2008, Meenakshi Sinha,TNN

From lugging paintings around to galleries to personally interacting with buyers and patrons alike, Indian artists go through the grind before managing to showcase their art. And this when the Indian art market is red hot — it is growing at 30-35% annually and is worth around Rs 1,500 crore (including the range of support businesses).
Even though the interest in art has percolated to the middle classes, there's no indigenous platform for an Indian artist to get international acclaim. Nothing like the art fairs of Europe (see box) which offer numerous opportunities. Biennales (held every other year) are proliferating in Asia as well, with events coming up from Shanghai to Singapore. But India has lagged behind. "Neither the government nor the various institutions have done much to develop Indian art," points out veteran artist Anjolie Ela Menon.
But all that is set to change. Come August, the capital will hold the first India Art Summit (IAS). "We felt the need for a collaborative industry platform in India, owing to the phenomenal growth and global interest in Indian art," says Sunil Gautam, group managing director of Hanmer MS&L that is behind the endeavour.
Patronised by prominent members from the art fraternity like Anjolie Ela Menon, S H Raza, Krishen Khanna and Keshav Malik, the IAS will be an annual affair and will see participation of a range of stakeholders who support the business and development of art in India.
"Currently, there is no uniform thought or clarity on how Indian art should be developed. The art events we see are mostly free-for-all affairs, sponsored mostly by galleries. No one, especially the corporate sector, seems to have a clear idea what direction Indian art can take. In such a scenario, I hope this summit will be a guiding force for everybody," says veteran artist Krishen Khanna.
Agrees Renu Modi, owner of Gallery Espace, "I believe art is for everyone and with so much talk about Indian art in the global market, the timing is right for India to offer an art fair to the world."
Not surprisingly, the India Art Summit is devised as a single-point destination for art, with galleries showcasing a variety of artwork from contemporary, modern, mixed and new age art including sculpture.
Here, artists, galleries, art funds, auction houses, art insurers, art framers, art valuators and restorers, art movers and packers, interior decorators, architects, reputed commentators and art critics will come together under one roof.
Those attending will include national and international collectors and speakers from the art markets of Europe and the US, with, of course, ample opportunities to do business.
"It's a very exciting time for Indian art and I'm extremely pleased to see India hosting an art fair. I look forward to interacting with an Indian art audience," says Phillip Hoffman, chief executive of The Fine Art Fund Group. The group, one of UK's largest international art fund management firms, is raising $25 million for an Indian Fine Art Fund.
In its first year, the IAS is projecting participation from over 33 exhibitors and 6,000 visitors from India and overseas. The summit will also have an ongoing art exhibition and an art forum followed by networking opportunities.
The uniqueness of the summit lies in its truly international format with topical business sessions, explains Gautam.
Based along the lines of international art fairs like Art Basel, FIAC of Paris, Shanghai Contemporary and Art Dubai, the IAS, too, will have an exclusive preview for collectors on the first day, maintain international scale and standard of production, host serious interactive seminars on the opportunities, challenges and issues facing the art industry.
And for all this, the fair will source sustenance from sponsors, media, hospitality and travel partners. It will also market exhibition space to galleries and art support businesses. Touted as a pan-India event, a search is already on for the destination for the 2009 India Art Summit.

India Art Summit:
August 22-24, 2008
Venue: Hall number 8 & 9,
Pragati Maidan, New Delhi

India in demand

The month of May seems to have augured well for Indian art in international auctions, writes Giridhar Khasnis. Source : Sunday Herald Art & Culture, Sunday June 1, 2008

Sotheby’s recorded impressive results in the ‘India Sale’ held recently at New Bond Street, London where 123 works were expected to rake in 24,00,000 to 34,00,000 pounds. Although the results showed that less than 100 works finally got under the hammer, the cumulative sales exceeded the higher estimate by more than 25 per cent. The final figure standing at 42,89,775 pounds (over Rs 34 crore) reflected a continued interest of international collectors in Indian art.
Dominating the proceedings were six of Francis Newton Souza’s paintings which cumulatively got 10,06,500 pounds and accounted for nearly 25 per cent of the overall sales. His Goan landscape ‘The Red Road’ with a pre-auction estimate of 3,50,000 pounds went for a much higher value of 5,80,500 pounds and became the costliest painting of the auction. Besides, an untitled but daring nude and a powerful still life of Souza fetched 2,28,500 pounds and 1,44,500 pounds respectively.
Also finding enthusiastic collectors were six of Husain’s paintings which raised no less than 4,60,200 pounds. One joyous acrylic on canvas work (estimated at 70,000 – 100,000 GBP) got 1,50,500 pounds.
Prominent among other works which came under the hammer were two untitled oil on canvas works of veteran artist, Akbar Padamsee - a nude (2,52,500 pounds) and a landscape (2,64,500 pounds). Two of Rabindranath Tagore’s works on paper titled ‘Bird’ (70,100 pounds) and ‘Death Scene’ (1,44,500 pounds) too made an impact.
Syed Haider Raza’s paintings also fetched high bids with his La Source going for 1,08,500 pounds and the trademark ‘Bindu’ attracting 72,500 pounds. ‘Apres le Spectacle’ (78500 pounds) and ‘Le Clown à Martiloque’ (36500 pounds) by Paris-based Shakti Burman too exceeded pre-auction estimates.
If the senior artists ruled the roost, the young brigade was not to be left behind. Atul Dodiya’s mixed media installation in three sections titled ‘Each Father’, ‘Lost (VIII)’ and T V Santosh’s evocative diptych, ‘A Handful of Ashes’, came under spotlight with 1,38,500 pounds and 1,02,500 pounds respectively. Bharati Kher (Missing / Bindis on composite aluminium panel / 1,06,100 pounds) and Thukral & Tagra (Stop Think Go / Acrylic and oil on canvas / 1,02,500 pounds) broke the 1,00,000 pound barrier, while Justin Ponmany’s work , First Sleep, (Hologram and acrylic on canvas) got 41600 pounds. But it was Subodh Gupta’s Untitled Oil on canvas showing tightly packed and fastened luggage on an airport trolley found a bidder who paid a whopping 2,64,500 pounds far exceeding the initial estimate of 1,00,000 pounds!

Subodh Gupta made waves in other places as well. His ‘Vehicle For The Seven Seas’ fetched 5, 02,330 pounds ($785,243) at Artcurial, Paris on May 3. The composite piece featuring an airport trolley in bronze and three aluminium sculpture-suitcases far exceeded its original estimate of 1,40,000-180,000 pounds.
The same artist was once again in limelight at Contemporary Art Auction of Sotheby’s in New York held on Valentine’s Day (May 14) when one of his paintings ‘Saat Samunder Paar VII’ was featured alongside the works of Francis Bacon, Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg and others. ‘In Saat samundar paar VII’, Subodh’s iconic luggage-packed trolley takes center stage, while the figures in the background remain conspicuously inconspicuous, softly fading into the background as anonymous foils to the colourful star of the composition,” explained the catalogue entry for the 2003 oil on canvas painting measuring 66 x 90.
“Here, man is subordinate to the gleaming idol of luggage, painted crisply, bright and precisely detailed. The artist’s critique is multi-faceted referencing myriad contemporary themes including the effects of capitalism, globalisation, media dependency, pop-idolatry, the collision of tradition with modernity and ultimately, man’s self awareness.” Against an estimate of $500,000 to $700,000, the painting sold for $825,000, an auction record for the artist.
Post script: Christies, London began an exhibition of Indian art works on May 7. The collection which includes works of M F Hussain, Tyeb Mehta, S H Raza and others belongs to Tina Ambani / Harmony Art Foundation and would be auctioned on June 11 to raise 1,00,000 pounds for the Foundation.

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