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Indian art market clocks USD 75.8 million, in turnover, for H1 FY23

The first 6 months of FY23 have put the Indian art market on track to make this the best-performing year. According to Indian Art Investor’s Indian Art Market Report for H1FY23, a turnover of USD 75.8 million, as of 30 September 2022, has potentially placed FY23 to outperform FY22. Of the 39 years’ historic auction data held by IAI, the first 6 months of FY23 have alone managed to generate more than the annual turnover of 34 of these 39 years. According to the report, a total of 468 artists have helped achieve this feat through the sale of 2,053 works, or 57% of the works sold in FY22.

“The top tier of the market continues to break norms and make headlines. Works priced >USD 1.2 million are responsible for 67% of the turnover, with the top 5 most expensive works alone bringing in 20%. But as the divide widens, so does the lowest tier. Works priced <USD 6 thousand have brought in 56% of all buyers, and therefore stabilised the average price. With an impressive sell-through rate of 89.5%, there is high demand, resale value and hence liquidity in the market”, said Arvind Vijaymohan, Founder, Indian Art Investor.

Commenting on the report findings, Pallavi Bakhru, Partner, Private Client Services at Grant Thornton Bharat, said, “With a staggering USD 75.8 million (₹582.7 crores) being generated in the first half of the current FY, people are now understanding that the Indian art market is a great space for alternate investment portfolios. With a sharp increase in income, there has been an increase in demand for art. And while art was mostly considered a collectable and a luxury item, it has slowly and steadily moved into the category of a capital asset, which by definition provides benefits over a long period of time. Although traditional buyers remain a force in driving the market, there is an influx of new collectors who find art safe and are warming up to the idea of art as an investment option.”

Both Q1 and Q2 contributed equally to the top 10 most expensive works sold in H1FY23. These 10 works contributed to 27% of the total turnover generated in this 6-month period. Modernists held 7 of these works while 3 were works by Pre-Modernists. Modernists account for most of the works sold and 81% of the total turnover generated in this period. Since Modernists primarily worked with oil, as a medium, it accounted for 57% of the total turnover. Canvas is seen as a preferred choice of material for oil, hence canvas accounted for 75% of the turnover. Online auctions have taken the ecosystem by storm and accounted for 86% of the total auctions held.

Overall, H1FY23 has proven how the auction scene for Indian art is a solid marketplace, showcasing consistent growth and untapped potential. The market has proudly expanded in all the right directions. With Contemporaries on the rise, Modernists have proven to be solid investments. There is a positive sentiment, in tandem with an influx of wealth and an emerging breed of collectors in the market. The month of September has kicked off the auction season with great momentum, and the market continues to surprise everyone.