Rent-a-painting to offset slowdown


Rent-a-painting to offset slowdown

With the fall in prices of paintings by India’s master artists, a new market has opened up. Now you can hire paintings for your office/home on a monthly basis. An advertisement by a Gurgaon Art Painting hiring firm offers 10 masterpiece paintings worth Rs 30,000 on rental in Delhi, NCR, Noida, Gurgaon. Just pay Rs 499 per month which is less than “your monthly office tea expenses. More than 5,000 original world class framed paintings (all signed by artists) are available on rent.”

This hiring of painting for your office and even homes is a recent phenomenon in India. The economy psychology behind such hiring is obvious. The rentals are between Rs 500 to Rs 5,000 per month depending upon the size of the work, the artist and the period for which it has been hired. It is also considered cashflow friendly, with no up-front art purchase costs. Art rental is tax efficient as payments are offset against business revenue and have no tax liability (compared with being a capital outlay when buying artwork). Renting also avoids ongoing depreciation costs of art.

The Art Bank, set up four months ago by curator Adeshwar Puri in New Delhi, allows companies and individuals to rent paintings, including master works, for three months to a year.

Puri says he has 1000 paintings, including works by approximately 100 Indian artists from classic to contemporary, conservative to ‘shocking’.

At present, Art Bank’s collection comprises 25 percent up-and-coming artists, 50 percent middle-level artists, and 25 percent famous artists, including names such as Maqbool Fida Husain. In addition to paintings, the Art Bank also offers photo prints, sculptures and functional pieces such as furniture.

Art gallery owner Paresh Mistry has as his clients the elite of Mumbai from businessmen to kitty-party hosting ladies wanting to get a piece of art history adorning their pads. “For a week of hire, I charge roughly 10 percent of the cost of the painting plus a deposit, as my insurance policy doesn’t cover the painting while not in my possession,” informs Paresh.

The paintings are graded and the rental price is determined by the availability of work with the collector. And of course, the greater the artist the more expensive it is to rent his/her works. The lowest price for three months is Rs 500.

The A-grade list consists of Raza, Souza, Husain and Choudhary while emerging artists like Ramesh Rana and Kusum Jain fall into the B-category. Then there are artists who’s works are priced at under a lakh. The artist gets 20 percent on each package.

The rent-a-painting adds diversity to the booming Rs 60 billion art market in India, dominated by corporate buyers, investors, galleries and private collectors.

Maharaja Features

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