The year bidding goodbye has been a buoyant one for Indian art, according to Ankush Dadha of Bid & Hammer, with strong demand for quality work with good authorship. “Though the demand has predominantly been for the same set of artists who are identified as the pillars of modern Indian art, there has been a shift in the category of buyers with a lot of newer and younger collectors willing to spend top dollar,” he says.
The year also witnessed the emergence of new trends. “One of the noticeable trends was the resurgence in prices for Bengal School artists with many of them commanding the average prices that one now has to shell out for the top 15 modernists,” explains Ankush. “A work by Jamini Roy being estimated in the `1 crore bracket is an example. Similarly, works by Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar Baij and the three Tagores have seen an upward spiral. Also, there has been a tremendous interest in early/Dutch-Bengal works.”
According to him, the year wasn’t unfavourable for the contemporary artists and the market for the more recognised ones in this lot has regained momentum though not really comparable to that of the modernists, or for that matter, how the market was between 2004-2008,” he says and adds from an auctioneer’s point of view that demonetisation has had little impact on the art market. “We conduct open and transparent auctions/sales and there is nothing to hide in terms of valuations or prices achieved and the number of lots sold as the mode in which the payment is received from buyers and settled with consignors is all on record. In fact, in the long run, it will be a boon to the overall art market like it will be to the economy as a whole.”