Art that suits the wallet

Art that suits the wallet

In this time of economic downturn, affordable art is a concept gaining great relevance.

Can you imagine going to an art gallery and coming back with your first purchase? Maybe you can picture buying all your favourite paintings at a show without burning an un-mendable hole in your pocket. Perhaps you see yourself having your very own Husain or Souza hanging in your living room?

Considering recent trends in the art community, this could very well be a reality. Affordable art displays are increasing not only in frequency, but in popularity as well.

These showcases allow owners to continue to share and sell their pieces, while encouraging buyers to invest in new talent or finally be able to own works of well-loved greats.

The ‘Affordable Masters’ exhibition that was held last week at the Art Magnum gallery in New Delhi, for example, featured work from artists like M F Husain, F N Souza, S H Raza, Jamini Roy and Ram Kinkar Baij.

The exhibition highlighted artists from different eras, namely, the Pre-independence Masters, the Modern Masters and the Contemporary Seniors.

All pieces displayed at the showcase were priced under Rs 20 lakh. Explaining the motivation behind an affordability-focused art showcasing, Art Magnum’s director Saurabh Singhvi said, “we wanted to display a spectrum of Indian art of very high quality. At the same time, we wanted art connoisseurs to be able to afford the pieces, especially at a time like this, when the economy not doing too well is a cause for worry.”

Affordable art is a concept that has been relevant for a while now ⁠— particularly during economic downturns. Singhvi adds, “Owners and galleries still want to display their art and we all want pieces to be appreciated, bought and displayed. Working to make them affordable is how we make that happen.”

At its essence, affordable art is all about accessibility. This is particularly clear at a showcasing
like ‘Affordable Masters’, which focuses on renowned artists.

As a result of the lower-end price point, buyers are less likely to be intimidated or limited by the cost. It also provides an opportunity for different aspects of an artist’s work to be set out in the spotlight. At the exhibition, for instance, F N Souza’s sketches and Krishen Khanna’s drawings received a lot of buzz.

Easy initiation

Many of these pieces have been sourced from private collections and are being displayed for the first time. For the artwork owners, the opportunity to share their pieces is key. Shailey Mahajan, an avid collector of Indian art, believes that affordable art showcases are truly one-of-a-kind.

“It offers quality works at modest prices. You can buy a small Husain or a Souza or a Raza quite easily. It also allows my artwork to be viewed by a larger audience. The only reason I want to sell some pieces is to be able to buy some new ones.”

Mahajan believes this is an especially unique opportunity for first-time collectors.

Affordable art initiatives are often geared towards first-time or newer buyers who may otherwise be daunted by the cost of the artwork displayed.

Pricing art to be more accessible, therefore, allows keen art-lovers to be initiated into the art collector’s world with greater ease.

An architect by profession and an art collector by passion, Singhvi offers some insight for enthusiasts looking to buy: “Only buy something if you like it. A lot of people tend to get carried away by the big names or popularity, but that should always be secondary. The only thing that should be guiding your purchase is how much you connect to the artwork and how much it resonates with you.”

On his passion to display and sell these pieces, he adds, “in the end, art does not belong in a cupboard, which is where it will end up if it is not really liked. Art deserves a home on a wall ⁠— it deserves to be displayed, shown off and appreciated.”