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The Rising Ground for Indian Artists

The posh outlook of the art sector has been showing a staggering expansion as the eastern art world is now penetrating the European and American market.

For long, European and American art were the major crowd pullers at the global level. The reason was the perpetual suppression of Eastern art styles and conventions.

However, things have changed tremendously in the last few decades or so. Eastern art community isn’t just growing but also showing a remarkable upsurge in terms of creativity and innovation.

The entrance of Christie’s exhibition in India in 2013 has declared the arrival of Eastern art at the global level.

And to make things better, the Christie’s first auction in India sold paintings worth $15 million, which was way beyond what was expected. 98% of the total stuff was sold!

Untitled painting of V.S.Gaitonde was sold at a staggering price of $4.1 million. Now that was something that didn’t happen commonly for Indian artists.

There isn’t a single piece of doubt that Indian art is on an unerring climb. Let’s take a deeper view in the same by checking out the stats and keeping a notch on what drives this hike.

What do numbers say?

The year 2018 proved to a prolific one for Indian art.

With a 21.6% rise in the sale, Indian art is all dressed up for the party ahead.

There were 1559 artworks put up on sale in the year 2018, out of which 1469 got sold generating around INR 685 crore.

One reason for deterring in the sales of 2017 was the implementation of demonetization policy by the Indian regime.

Amongst Indian artists, the iconic S.H.Raza leads 2018 by fetching a towering sale of INR 98 crore for 67 pieces he sold.

His most expensive sale recorded a whopping INR 29 crore for his exquisite work, Tapovan, at Christie’s auction.

This proves that Indian art is on a shining path that leads to more record-breaking sales.

But what are the aspects that drive this excellent escalade?

Driving Factors – What pushes the growth?

There are a dozen reasons that are responsible for pulling Indian art from the sink and putting it at an apex level in the market.

However, there are a few factors that influenced the ascent of Indian art more than others.

Coining Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group

Pre-independence, the creativity of Indian artists was surrounded with pre-set themes and a definite objective. Patriotism, socialism, and nationalism used to drive the artists to pick up the brush.

However, post-1947, Indian artists weren’t bounded by anything. This is what inspired them to make a separate identity of Indian art, where thoughts, imaginations, and creativity didn’t experience any sort of friction.

With this in mind, the emergence of Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group became possible. The group was formed in 1948 and got dissolved in 1956 but the impression and impact it had on artists in India can still be seen in contemporary works.

Understand that the founding members of this group are known names of Indian art. All of these lads were young then, mostly in their early career stage, but held an impeccable vision.

These illustrious artists were S.H.Raza, K.H.Ara, H.A. Gade, M.F.Husain, F.N.Souza, Soon the likes of Ram Kumar, V.S.Gaitonde, Tyeb Mehta, etc joined the movement.

This was a breakthrough in shaping a new face for modern Indian art.

The Global Sweep

The centuries-old thirst of Indian art to win global recognition is now quenched, eventually.

As said, Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group played a pivotal role in gaining ground for Indian art. But the group got scrapped in just 8 years – what then?

A lot of Indian artists in this group were determined to showcase their talent on the global platforms post-independence.  

The first one was Souza, who left India and went to France in the year 1949. His paintings were already exhibited in London Burlington House a year before.

Soon after, artists like Husain, Gaitonde, Mehta, and Raza began to sweep European and American nations with their extraordinary talent.

A few of these artists toured and came back while others stayed there.

In a nutshell, Indian artists beginning to participate and impress the western art collectors and zealots turned the eye of major art dealers towards the untapped market of India.

The online burst

The unbelievable emergence and rise of the online world have impacted a number of sectors quite heavily – art is no exception.

If you want to look in terms of numbers, let me tell you that the record sales of 2018 what we were discussing above was because of the online platforms.

Surprisingly, the contribution of online sales (339 crores) is more than what offline deals yielded (318 crores).

The Paramountcy and popularity of the online platforms can be seen by the fact that out of 716 works put for sale online in 2018, 657 got their buyers.

These three are the major drivers for the phenomenal rise of Indian art in the world.


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