Desi art makes a killing globally

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on February 19, 2015 Published on February 19, 2015

Tata AIG gets aboard the artsy bandwagon

Artist Vasudeo Gaitonde’s (1924-2001), Untitled work from 1979, sold for ₹23.70 crore ($3.7 million), against a pre-sale estimate of ₹6.50 crore to ₹8.50 crore at a recent Christie’s auction. This was the highest price ever paid in India for a modern work of art, and a world auction record for a work by the artist. For Tata AIG, the auction was a testament to the growing interest and the inherent strength of the Indian art market.

Apart from bagging a high price of $15.45 million, the inaugural Christie’s auction in the country also doubled pre sale expectations with 98 per cent of the lots sold. Confirming the growing interest from art lovers, KK Mishra, CEO, Tata AIG General Insurance told BusinessLine, “The last two auctions of Christies have indicated that people in India are willing to pay for art. We are very positive about art insurance and see a lot of potential in it.’’

Understanding art and providing cover for the same is a specialised job, said the CEO, adding that one should be careful while entering this niche area. “One of the value additions is the risk management services that we provide. Under this, we inform customers about how to display their art and how to take care of it at all times,’’ he said.

Christie announced its second auction in Mumbai in December 2014, following the success of the inaugural auction. The second one too had many firsts to its credit.

Taking things ahead, Tata AIG played host to the Mumbai Gallery Weekend (MGW) earlier this year, in conjunction with seven art galleries in Colaba, South Mumbai.

The five day experience included a range of events, aimed at clicking with the casual art gallery goer as well as the most committed of collectors.

Participating galleries were Chemould Prescott Road at Fort, Chatterjee & Lal, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke, Project 88, Sakshi Gallery and Gallery Maskara, all at Colaba, in South Mumbai. The primary objective was to spread the reach and relevance of contemporary art, said Gopa Menon, head of the Private Client Group at Tata AIG.

Stating that artworks and its insurance is big business, Menon said the market has been growing at 50-60 per cent per month. “Christie’s auction has helped us immensely. Since the market is booming, we thought it was the right time to get associated with an art event,’’ he said.

The MWG endeavoured to create meaningful interactions between the city’s galleries and art lovers, collectors and curators. Menon pointed out the Tata AIG does not insure art galleries, but only private collections of HNIs.

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Published on February 19, 2015
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