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Confidence Indicator of Modern & Contemporary Indian art market surges
In a major boost to India’s art market, the overall Confidence Indicator of ArtTactic has increased by 10 percent in the time period between May 2012 and October 2012, currently standing at 57 (up from the previous 52). The Indicator for the Modern art market of the country stands unchanged at 71, whereas the confidence in the segment of Contemporary art has gone up 12 percent from 39 to an impressive 44. Though still below the psychological level of 50, the key Expectation Indicator for India’s Contemporary art market is at 53, signaling broadly a positive outlook for this segment in the coming 6 months.

Art Tactic is a world-renowned art market analysis resource that offers responsive research as well as in-depth commentary on the ever-changing and fast-paced art market. As new zones emerge on the scene and tastes evolve, it has employed elaborate expertise and vast network to ensure fruitful art investments that stay well ahead of the curve, supported by updated information from across the globe. The firm founded by Anders Petterson in 2001 has developed analytical frameworks and methodologies for the market often used by people in top financial markets and economists. It offers an added dimension to market analysis by collating both quantitative and qualitative research tools with a deep knowledge of how it works.

What are the other observations made by the research agency in its recent report?

• For the Modern Indian art market, 29 percent of the observers think it will only go up in the next few months (in comparison to 30 percent in May 2012), whereas 60 percent are confident that the market will stay largely flat (70 percent in May 2012), and 11 percent feel the market will perhaps fall back. Although 41 percent of them opine the Modern art market of India has recovered, or will improve within the next year, 33 percent of the experts believe that it will need two more years at least for a broader recovery.

• For the Contemporary art market, 25 percent of the experts believe the market will go up (10 percent in May 2012), 52 percent believe the market will remain flat (down from 82 percent) and 23 percent of the experts believe the market will fall (up from 8 percent). This indicates a quarter of the experts believe the Indian contemporary art market will see a positive development in the next 6 months. With the Kochi Biennale in December and the India Art Fair slated to take place in early 2013, there are some major international events that could put Indian contemporary art market back on top collectors’ agendas in the months ahead.

• With the Chinese contemporary art market showing apparent signs of slowdown since Spring 2011, it’s likely that collectors will start gradually shifting elsewhere. In this context, analysts of the agency feel Indian contemporary art will start to regain some of the lost ground relative to its powerful neighbors.

Going back a bit into the past, India’s art market was hit after the 2008 economic collapse. Since then it has attempted to readjust and refocus itself. The earlier confidence survey for Indian art market in May 2012 suggested that it would take at least two years to fully recover. The overall indicator was marginally down by 2 percent (a 9 percent decrease in confidence indicator for the Modern market, and a 24 percent fall for the Contemporary market. In fact, the round of auctions in March 2012 was quite disappointing. The market had a poor season, with sales volume of $10,438,532, 27 percent lower than March 2011.

In spite of this negative market trend, most experts then remained positive about the broader scenario and they have been proved right. A number of artists from the country now show their works on a wider global level, including Bharti Kher, Rashid Rana, and Jitish Kallat. In another heartening development, the market has strongly reversed a prolonged negative trend, posting impressive results in the last 12 months, according to the latest Indian Auction Analysis. After six seasons of consecutive decline, it has showed the early signs of a possible revival.

Overall Indian art auction volume for both for Modern and Contemporary stood at $11,424,094, 33 percent up from June 2012, and in line with the results a year ago. One of the key contributing factors to these results was Sotheby’s apparent ability to lead a comeback after poor June sale that took place in London, only raising $606,515. Despite falling 32 percent short of the pre-sale estimate, it did help to lift the sales total markedly beyond the previous two auction seasons.

The market remains rather conservative, and though this season has showed encouraging signs in the contemporary segment, the last auction round returned to the far more established Modern area, with contemporary lots managing to account just 14 percent of the number of lots and only 5 percent of the total value. In fact, the top 10 lots made up 46 percent of the sale, with artworks by Husain accounting for 5 of the top 10 prices attained. Tyeb Mehta is an artist who continues to command the best prices, with his ‘Falling Figure with Bird’ fetching $1,629,091. It made up 14 percent of total sales for the top three houses. Another work by him went for $600,000 (the 3rd highest hammer price recorded this season).