On May 15, Hurun Report India unveiled its first edition of Hurun India Art List 2019 — a compilation of top 50 artists alive in India based on the valuation of their work sold in auction houses from April 2018 to March 2019 in association with ArtPrice.com. On the list were three eminent artists from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh — Thota Vaikuntam, Laxma Goud and Ravinder Reddy.
The first edition of the Hurun India Art List 2019 features the names of 50 eminent artists from India, including three from the two Telugu speaking states.
Not just that, Thota Vaikuntam and Laxma Goud also featured in the ‘Contemporary Form of Art’ category which refers to art influenced by the happenings of the present day wherein contemporary artists often reflect and comment on modern-day society.
“The resale value of some of the works by the top artists deliver better returns than traditional asset classes. Hurun India Art List is targeted at those who have the ability to collect but don’t know where to start. The origins of Indian art can be traced back to 3rd millennium BC, and conversations about Indian artists on a global platform is truly the need of the hour,” states the official release, which claims that the work sold in the auction house could be either owned by the artist or the collector.
The recipient of several National and State level awards, painter and sketcher Thota Vaikuntam (76) holds the 9th place in the Hurun India Art List 2019. Hailing from rural AP, the people of his village, women in particular, are the central characters of his paintings. Not surprisingly, 26 of his works grossed more than Rs 3.53 crore last year alone!
Celebrated contemporary Indian artist Ravinder Reddy holds the 17th place, with three of his works earning him Rs 1.51 cr. Often monumentally scaled with wide eyes, blocky features and garishly coloured skin, Reddy’s sculptures are inspired by Pop Art portraits and modelled after traditional Indian religious depictions and descriptions of Hindu Goddesses. Devi is the most imposing and arresting of all of Reddy’s signature head sculptures. With golden skin, crimson lips, bulging eyes and a bun bedecked in jasmine buds, it is an incredible specimen of immaculate symmetry.
Recognised for his graceful yet powerful line drawings, etchings and watercolors, Laxma Goud’s 30 works fetched him Rs 1.47 crore, putting him on the 18th position. His portraits of men and women represent the dynamic Indian ethos rather than particular individual identities. Most of Goud’s art is centered on the rural, recreating landscapes from his childhood as if they were frozen in time.
‘This list does not interest me’
I don’t know in what connection that list has come, who has listed it and what have I got to do with it. But if I am one amongst them, I am happy that somebody noticed my work. Artists are always working silently and lists do not change anything. When M.F. Hussain had given an interview about the top artists from India, he had mentioned about 30 names, including mine. To be mentioned by another eminent artist is an achievement. This sort of list does not interest me.
— Laxma Goud
‘It’s a limited survey’
Even though it’s a proud moment for all of us, listing should not affect artists. It is only for investors/collectors. These are auctioned sales. A lot of artists’ works get sold through galleries and they don’t figure in the list. It’s a limited survey.
— Ravinder Reddy
‘A proud moment’
The list is only based on auction sale prices which are quoted on ArtPrice.com, which does not make it comprehensive enough. However, we should feel really proud that T. Vaikuntam’s name has been featured in the top 10 living artists from India. It is a very proud moment for people residing in both the Telugu states. There is no fixed formula for success, but all young artists can take inspiration from the list. We should feel inspired and proud. —Prshant Lahoti, avid art lover, collector and gallerist