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How to buy your first art piece

You are never too young or broke to own a good collection of art pieces. Here’s how you do it

Published: 04th July 2017 10:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 05th July 2017 07:34 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Are you someone who has always aspired to own a good collection of art pieces? Does going to galleries and having a conversation around the pricing of the art you like intimidate you? Well, then City Express breaks down a cheat sheet on how to buy your first big piece of art with a little help from an expert. And guess what, you don’t have to be filthy rich to own a big piece of art.

Last Supper by Krishen Khanna

Is it worth it?
Artist’s past and the artwork’s significance in the real world sets the standards on its pricing. “Research must be conducted about the artist; parameters such as genre, subject and artist exhibition history must be taken into consideration,” says Tushar Sethi, director, Astaguru online auction house.
Gut feeling and consultation by experts/institutions is the best way to know whether the artwork is ‘worth it’.

Micro-analysis with experts
With regards to the artwork in specific, its provenance and artwork condition must be assessed.  Knowing the provenance of the artwork – the record of the lineage of the artwork and its legitimacy is important. “This aspect needs the opinion of a trained and discerning eye, many a times on the surface the artwork may seem in optimum condition however what may meet the eye is not always the case,” says Tushar, who remodeled and set up ‘The Arts Trust’ digitally in 2005.


Restoration work conducted may go unnoticed to the untrained eye and thus poorly executed restoration may affect the longevity and resale prospect of the artwork in the long run, he adds.

Talk to the artist
Conversing with the artist provides inroads into his/her/their perspective and ideologies. “Once the potential buyer has clarity on the subject and intellectual ergonomics of the artwork they are in a better position to decide if they relate with the work,” says Tushar.

Look online
Galleries are a very good starting point to look for good artwork to buy. However, it is important to approach the right gallery, one with pedigree and reputation believes Tushar. “Another good source to buy artwork is the internet, again from reputed websites only,” he says.

Not just for the super rich
The most prominent misconception amidst the younger generation is the fact that they believe that artworks are extremely expensive to acquire, observes Tushar. They are also under the impression that it is not for them or that it is too early for them to buy art, he adds.
“The biggest hindrance that restricts the younger lot from buying art is their price point assumption and that art is out of their reach,” says Tushar. 

Santhal Couple by Ramkinkar Baij;
Arjun and Subhadra by Raja Ravi Varma


However, it is not as bleak, considering among the people visiting AstaGuru’s website and researching about the recently concluded ‘No Reserve’ auction in June, the 25 - 44 age group accounts for around 20% of the visiting numbers with an additional 8% being from the age group of 18-25, he says. “Holistically, there is a positive indicator that the number of visitors has increased ten-fold in 2017 in comparison with that of 2016,” he adds.

Finding meaningful art
Visit galleries, museums, exhibitions, solo shows of artists to know more about art, and also speak with fellow art enthusiast to get an idea of their respective perception, advises Tushar. The Institute of Contemporary Indian Art (ICIA) gallery at Kala Ghoda, Mumbai, is a great place to view high quality works by the masters and contemporary Indian artists.

$100 painting V/s $10,000 one
A $ 100 artwork is a painting whereas a $ 10,000 is a creation and entity of art. Tushar says there is a thought process involved behind the pricing, an application of expression and there is great concern involved while creating art from the artist’s vantage point.  He believes an artwork is unique and negotiation would undermine the artist’s efforts.



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