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Indian Contemporary Art is on the ascent, attracting ever increasing collectors and investors, not only from India, but from across the globe.

Record-breaking prices by a series of Indian Contemporary Art works in highly publicised auctions by prestigious auction houses have made headlines. An unbelievably high appreciation in value of works at the top end of the market, some as much as four-fold, has highlighted its lucrative investment potential. An unprecedented level of trading in the recent past, especially in auctions, has underlined ever-increasing appeal. A quantum shift in pricing has been triggered, causing a significant impact in a brief span of time. The trend is up for Indian Contemporary Art.

Enhanced media attention, both in India and overseas, has made a noteworthy contribution to its exponential growth. Along with a steady rise in promotional activities, awareness has been raised manifold and the buyer and collector base consequently expanded. The buoyant capital markets have bred a whole new breed of investors and auctions have resulted in greater transparency in the market. Demand for top-class quality art works at premium prices has thus witnessed a notable spurt and it will gather further momentum as works of select top-class artists become scarce.

A particularly heartening spillover effect has also ensued. Emerging artists have been included in auctions with great regularity and have made their presence felt by winning critical acclaim. In fact, price levels of these artists have since shot-up by as much as seven-fold and it is forecast that this will precipitate another major shift in pricing. This augurs well for the future of Indian Contemporary Art.

Considering that Indian Contemporary Art has been readily accepted as a potent vehicle for wealth creation in the medium to long term, at little or no risk, noting the impressive returns on investment that have accrued to investors and observing the elevated activity of art auction houses that has built an important secondary market which ensures easy liquidity, the time for you to invest is now.

Do you know that Indian Contemporary Art has dramatically outperformed the very best equity mutual funds, the stock market and property in a comparative study over the last five year period? The computed average value appreciation of the works of 50 artists over the last five years delivered truly amazing returns on investment - twice as much as the very best equity mutual funds, ten times as much as the stock market and eight times as much as property!

The birth of four ‘art funds’ in the past two years to trade in art works rather than stock is proof that investment in Indian Contemporary Art has come of age.

Indeed, a tremendous opportunity lies within your grasp. Now is your time to capitalise on it.

In a dynamic market scenario with prices consistently on the move and exciting new artists constantly on the horizon, timely information is the key to good purchase decisions. This is even more imperative in the context of the Indian art market where a single artist may be represented by as many as four or five dealers/galleries, making precise information on the artist, references of works and pricing even more essential. That is why expert advice in arriving at your investment decision is crucial.

Provide a minimum of three to five years for your investment to begin showing adequate returns.

Expose yourself to a wide spectrum of art by visiting galleries and art shows, perusing art books and catalogues, interacting with artists and art teachers as well as browsing art websites online and joining network groups that discuss art.

Improve your knowledge and vocabulary of art; its history, evolution, styles, movements, techniques, mediums, materials, terms, et al. Should you need any clarifications, try and seek them from members of the art fraternity or people knowledgeable about art.

Look at art works and think of which ones appeal to you, which ones make you catch your breath, which ones linger in your memory… and why?

Once you have decided to buy an artwork, find one that instinctively appeals to you and grows on you, though this might make parting with it difficult.

Search for art works not easily available in a majority of shows. These art works may cost you more but in all probability, they will pay you more when you resell them.

New artists are a better bargain than the more established ones, but at a greater risk whilst works of artists committed to select galleries only, are usually in a higher price band. Keep an eye out for artists represented by a good gallery, good sales in solo shows and good critical reviews.

Purchase only from known sources so that you have the option of returning the art work and recovering your money in the event of any questions about its authenticity. And insist on the counter signature of artists whenever you buy art works.

Make a modest start, based on availability of funds. Buy unknown artists for reasonable prices or smaller works of better-known artists, gradually progressing to works of renowned artists and larger sized works over a period of time.

For any expert advice or assistance in sourcing art works, please contact Art Invest India.
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