30 September, 2020

Easel Money

Art as gilt-edged security? Well, a newly launched fund hopes to make good on your canvas investments.

Easel Money
Tyeb Mehta's Celebration couldn't have been more aptly named. The triptych went under the hammer for $3,17,500 at Christie's in September '02, the highest ever for any modern Indian artwork. At the same auction, M.F. Husain's Mahabali helped the artist cross the $1,00,000 mark for the first time. India's artists had never had it so good till then. And it was only getting better. Average prices quoted at auction for established artists like S.H. Raza and F.N. Souza are now in the $1,00,000-$1,50,000 range. In May '04, Raza's Bindu Bija Mantra, sold for $1,47,800 on Saffronart. Prices are similarly high for V.S. Gaitonde and Jagdish Swaminathan.

With the good run showing no signs of slowing down, could there be a better time to launch an 'art fund'? All of this August, investment bank Edelweiss Capital was raising money from its clients for Yatra, an art investment fund centred around the booming contemporary Indian art market. The brainchild of Geetha Mehra and V. Sanjay Kumar, co-owners of Mumbai-based Sakshi Art Gallery, and Pravin Gandhi, venture...


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