All Things Art

Ketan Mehta explains M F Hussain's Battle of Ganga Jamuna

While art funds give you a chance to own a 'square centimetre' or a 'square inch' of famous canvases which are otherwise sold at staggering prices, the question remains as to how much a painting or a painter is worth?
If art funds work much like a mutual fund, then a barometer determining the market price of a painter or a painting is pertinent. One such company which is trying to achieve this is ArtTactic, established by former JP Morgan employee Anders Petterson. ArtTactic provides unbiased art market research analysis and advice, backed by proprietary data, to help individuals and institutions identify opportunities, trends and developments in the contemporary art market.
ArtTactic is the first company to ever develop an Art Market Confidence Indicator which is modelled on a similar methodology to the CEO Confidence Survey that was launched in 1976 by the Conference Board in the US.
ArtTactic believes that the opinions of a small group of carefully selected 'art insiders' (the sample is currently around 160 individuals), being collectors, auction hou-ses, advisors and other art professionals provide a valuable insight into the future direction of the art market.
The recently published Indian Art Market Report 2008 is ArtTactic's first in-depth look at the Indian art market and the factors and players shaping this rapidly growing market. The findings for 2008 show an art market that is going through a major transformation, where the focus has gone from modern Indian art to contemporary Indian art. Results from the ArtTactic Indian Art Market survey from November 2007, showed that the Contemporary Art Market Confidence Indicator now stands 33 per cent higher than the indicator for the modern art market.
However, the slowdown in the Modern Indian segment is also creating new opportunities, where many important works coming up in auction (See box) now seem to offer great relative value.
Some highlights of the Indian Art market Report 2008:

  • ArtTactic Indian Art Market Confidence Indicator (Nov 2007) up 12 per cent from May 2007, signaling further confidence in the Indian art market.
  • Modern Indian art auctions slow down in 2007, paving way for contemporary Indian art to take centre stage.
  • Indian contemporary art is increasingly raising its profile internationally, through art fairs, biennials and international gallery shows, as well as the result of an increasing number of new galleries setting up in London and New York.
  • The success of a selected number of younger contemporary artists such as Subodh Gupta, Atul Dodiya, Anju Dodiya, Rashid Rana and the young artist duo Thukral & Tagra has put Indian contemporary art on the international art map.
  • The domestic and NRI collector base for Indian contemporary art is rapidly expanding, and important international collectors are directing their attention towards Indian art.

I think by now you are feeling comfortable with this research, survey and results. It is a familiar territory to understand what is going on but the problem with art is that it is intangible. It's about emotion, expression, sensitivity and ethos. The more you understand the artist, his mind and the influence under which he has produced the work of art, the more you enjoy the work of art.
The elements and principles of design are concepts used to organise or arrange the structural elements of a work of art. And they influence the expressive content or the message of the artwork.
The author is assistant general manager, Advertising & PR, Suhail Bahwan Group and recipient of Brand Excellence Award from Asia Brand Congress - 2007. He's an Art graduate from Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, India. He can be contacted at

All Things Art
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