Art becoming a hot business in the country

A. Saye Sekhar

Many art galleries auctioning paintings are supported by VC funds and banks

‘Christies’, ‘Safronart’ and a few other firms auction paintings even online

HYDERABAD: Nimble fingers niftily dancing on a canvass to create a painting with a splash of colours evokes emotional applause from art-lovers. Gradually, it is turning out to be a hot business in the country, while it is already one globally.

Venture Capital (VC) funds too are evincing interest in investing in the companies that acquire art works from artists and auction them for a fortune.

Days are not far off when art galleries become active, what with growing interest among people to adorn their workplaces and homes with paintings to add colour and glory to the opulence.

According to Ravi Gossain, a Kanpur IIT graduate in chemical engineering, who took to painting as a full-time avocation, most art galleries which are into auctioning of paintings, are supported by VC funds and banks.

While banks in the country are yet to take the plunge, several major foreign financial institutions are taking paintings as collateral security for funding.

The paintings are insured, leaving nothing to risk, said Mr. Gossain in an interview here on Saturday.

He said ‘Christies’ and ‘Safronart’ and a few other companies were auctioning paintings even online. The business was running into crores.

“In Christies’ auctions, usually held thrice a year in New York, Indian art works fetch at least $ 300-500 million,” he observed.

Indian art, according to him, did $ 2-billion business annually. While there were 10,000 talented artists in the country, 2,000 youngsters were added every year.

Mr. Gossain said artists in the country hardly sold their works until the 70s.

“They painted not to make an earning. They were gifting away their works. That is when Husseins, Laxman Gouds and Vaikuntams came up. Sipping coffee and skipping meals, they went on painting. They were not a part of the cocktail circuit. They preferred buying turpentine and paint tubes and colours to meals,” he said.

Stark contrast

There was a stark contrast in the scene now. ‘Artists need not be fakirs any longer,” he said.

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