Indian artwork sales rise 21.6% in 2018, SH Raza tops charts with Tapovan

Published January 14, 2019 (moneycontrol.com), by Tasmayee Laha Roy

With the economic outlook for 2019 remaining tentative, the Indian art industry is certain to witness a strong amount of trading

Art works brought India a reason to cheer in 2018 as sales recorded a 21.6 percent rise. According to the Artery India Annual Market Report 2018, out of 1,559 works up for sale in 2018, 1469 fetched Rs 685 crore. In 2017, out of 1,902 Indian artworks that went up for sale across the world, only 1680 got sold clocking sales worth Rs 563 crore.

“2018 has been a strong year, with sales reviving following the previous year’s slump that was recorded in the wake of demonetisation. The turnover also benefited from the comparatively richer quality of work consigned for sale in auction. The private sales domain recorded major activity, with the highest volume of sales in the past four years,” said Arvind Vijaymohan, CEO at Artery India, an art intelligence firm.

The top artist of 2018, was modern artist SH Raza with 67 artworks of his being sold for Rs 98 crore in the year gone by. Raza’s most expensive artwork sale was done by Christie’s at New York. The acrylic on canvas called Tapovan was sold for Rs 29 crore.

Online drive

Interestingly, online sales brought in more money than offline sale in 2018. While the turnover from online sale of Indian artwork stood at Rs 339 crore that from offline sales was Rs 318 crore. A lot of online auction houses across the world gained from this new wave of online sales in 2018. Out of 716 works offered online, 657 were sold. On the other hand close to 97 per cent of the 843 Indian art work offered on sale offline were sold.

Dubai’s online Indian artwork selling platform Artiana is an example. ARTIANA’s total auction sales in 2018, for their two South Asian Art auctions crossed the USD 3.5 million mark.

“Continued growth and engagement of new clients from within UAE, and India as well as other parts of the world, including many first-time buyers were equal contributors to the overall sales. Highest prices were bid for paintings by M.F. Husain’s Trinity of Mother Teresa ($320,000) and ‘Arjun and Sudarshan Chakra‘ (USD 300,000), works of other artists S.H. Raza and F.N. Souza performed well in the auction confirming the continued demand of modern Indian art,” said Lavesh Jagasia, managing director at Artiana.

2019 outlook 

“With the economic outlook for 2019 remaining tentative, the Indian art industry is certain to witness a strong amount of trading. In the scenario of the market slumping, there is certain to be a high level of distressed acquisitions, that will be conducted in the private sales channel. If the market holds, the surge in prices of the top 16 Modernists will continue its upward ascent, following after the charts from 2013 to current date,” added Vijaymohan.

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