Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Indian Art as an Investment

I've flirted off and on with investing in Indian art, my interest having been piqued because my uncle, Tapan Ghosh, is a pretty well-known artist and also because of some of the rah-rah articles you get to read every so often about Indian art doing well at international auctions.

From my travels abroad, I've come to hold the opinion that Indian art is rather undervalued compared to other Asian art, which seems to bode well for the industry as a whole.

I firmly believe it is possible to make windfall gains on art. The only major hitch is that the market is non-transparent and there is no real objective way to measure the worth of an artist, especially an upcoming one whose works have not been publicly traded in major auctions. And yet, the upcoming artists' works are where the truly spectacular gains are likely to come from. Sounds familiar, right? It's just like the stock market.

It was therefore a rather pleasant surprise to find this (not very recent) document on 'Art as an Investment' that gives some stats about an otherwise closed, under-analysed market. Some of the juicy details:

  • the Indian art market (represented by an index comprising of 24 of the top Indian artists) has outperformed the S&P 500 by two times over the past 3 years, the top 6 (Akbar Padamsee, FN Souza, MF Husain, Ram Kumar, SH Raza, Tyeb Mehta) having trounced the S&P 500 by several times and the rest having beaten it by a small margin
  • the emerging artists (high-risk, high-return like the stock market small caps) recommended are Chanchal Mukherjee, Baiju Parthan, Sekhar Roy, Jayasri Burman, Vaikuntam and Ramananda Bandopadhyay. There are also some mid-cap equivalent artists named

The presentation also goes on to talk about the factors to consider when investing in art, but these are rather obvious.

Anyway, I'm pretty excited about this info. Will look up some of these artists and let you know what I can find out. I would love it if you could also do some research and let me know.

Not Convinced?

Check out these articles and you'll know what I'm excited about!

  • Atul and Anju Dodia's prices have apparently been increasing at 20% month on month!
  • Works by second-tier artists such as G R Santosh, Avinash Chandra and Sohan Qadri are buzzing in a market valued at around 1,100-1,200 crores per year!
  • Prices for top-tier artists such as Tyeb Mehta and FN Souza have risen 20 times since 2000!
  • Starting with $3.5 million in 2000, Osian's Indian art fund has grown by 10 times till date!

Still not convinced? Just search on Google! I mean, even Femina is advising readers to buy Indian art. (Yeah, that's right!)

And all you investors know that when everyone is talking about an investment, it's boom time!!


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Indian Equities said...

There is one listed company on BSE or NSE which deals in ART...any idea what the name is...i got some email few months back, i ignored now...now am not able to get the name...guess it makes sense to buy some shares in this company.