( Our thanks to Mr. Singh & Business Standard for the permission to post this article on Art Lab)
Business StandardInvestors and collectors are different species. Which one of these are you?
some time they had become interchangeable, the collector and investor
in art, but as the market fragmented (when it was expected to
consolidate), their domains have become exclusive of each other. The
current environment is seen as buoyant for the collector as good
quality works have returned to the market. For
the investor, though, things look just a little grim, particularly
since Forbes India’s damaging story on an art fund by Osian’s head
Neville Tuli, it turns out, was artificially inflated before it bombed
Here, then, are the differences between a collector and an investor. Read it with a pinch of salt.COLLECTOR
# Is interested in particular works by an artist, or specific works of art.
# Would prefer the value of collected art to increase.
# Should the value of a painting or an artist move up, it’s fortuitous, a talking point in a group.
# Collecting is focused purely or loosely on a genre, period, medium, theme or specific artist(s).
# May occasionally sell works to enhance the perceived or academic value of a collection, or to turn around ill-chosen works.
# The collector is a constant visitor at galleries, artists’ openings, art fairs, talks and seminars.
# Collectors come as couples, are often women and only sometimes men. Institutions collect as well.
# Will invariably talk about art on social occasions — it’s a passion.
# Will likely beg, borrow or steal to buy a work they especially like.
# Collateral? “Well, I have this house…”
# If investments in art don’t rise, you won’t be entirely unhappy — there’s the art, at least, that you’d rather have.
# Unlikely to invest in an art fund: “I’d rather have the art.”
# Most likely to say: “Wow! That’s a treat. How much will it cost me?”
# Least likely to say: “I have too much art, I must get rid of some of it.”
# Will you look at that Souza!”INVESTOR
# Has little or no interest in either an artist or specific works of art.
# Would definitely want the value of art in which he is invested to increase.
# The value of art must definitely move up, but it’s hardly a talking point.
# Collecting is driven purely by an index that factors in hedging of risks.
# Will definitely sell works as soon as the value is realised, as per a chalked-out strategy.
# The investor is rarely sighted at art events other than at talkathons about investment and value.
# Investors are more likely to be men (and sometimes women) from the financial world. Prefer institutional investing.
# Will never talk about art on social occasions — it’s just an investment.
# Will likely organise institutional funding for any purchase.
# The collateral is the art.
# If investments don’t rise, you’ll be anxious - owning the art is poor consolation and a reminder of your failure.
# Likely to invest in an art fund: “provided there is a guarantee of at least the principal and interest”.
# Most likely to say: “I don’t care who painted it, tell me how much it will fetch me three years from now.”
# Least likely to say: “I have too much money, I could buy art with some of it.”
# “Souza who?”