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India’s Emerging Art Market

Updated on July 17, 2009
M F Hussain
M F Hussain
S H Raza
S H Raza
Tyeb Mehta
Tyeb Mehta
F N Souza
F N Souza

According to a Reuters article titled Indian art offers high appreciation at volatile time Indian Art has been identified as high growth sector from the investment point of view. Indian Art and artists are still perceived to be undervalued and experts opine that growth potential here is huge with appreciation levels between 18 and 25% per annum seen as a reasonable prediction. The art market in India being dominated by investors rather than collectors, this market has gone up 200 times in the past five years and what is being predicted is that if you pay a certain price right now, it will seem like peanuts 50 years down the line. Some art pundits are of the view that some of the Indian artists’ work is almost like a financial commodity ‘like a stock’. Perhaps one of the last of the tangible assets in a demat world! Among Indian artists currently perceived to be highly desirable in the West, the following names are noteworthy:

Maqbool Fida Husain, or M F Husaindubbed the Picassoof India, is perhaps the best known face of Indian art. Frequently controversial and highly prodigious, he is a colossus who famously began his career painting Hindi film posters, and is now one of the most influential and sought after painters who has straddled the Indian art scene for decades now. This painting of Bharatmata (Mother India) is just one that has embroiled him in controversy, litigation and even a threat to his life.

Syed Haider Raza or S H Raza has lived and worked in France since 1950, but maintains strong ties with India. His works are mainly abstracts in oil or acrylic, with a very rich use of color, replete with icons from Indian cosmology as well as its philosophy.

Tyeb Mehta (25 July 1925 - 2 July 2009) holds the record for the highest price an Indian painting has ever sold in a public auction ($317,500 USD or 15 million Indian rupees) for his triptych Celebration at Christie's in 2002. His painting here entitled Mahishasura (a figure of Hindu mythology) is perhaps his most famous work.

Francis Newton Souza (April 12, 1924 - March 28, 2002) was was the first avant-garde artist from India to achieve widespread recognition in the West.

Subodh Gupta is perceived as one of the ‘hot’ new artists, and his work includes sculpture, installation, painting, photography, performance and video. Common images and objects in Gupta’s work are taken from prominent clichés about Indian culture, for example, his prevalent use of stainless steel cooking utensils. His work is deliciously representative of the Indian way of life, its peculiarities and its societal imagery. The first picutre below of the sunken taxi is incredibly evocative of each monsoon in Mumbai. The last one is remeniscent of the itinerant NRI (non resident Indian) and so on.

Subodh Gupta


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    • profile image

      PROSANTAKUMAR 6 years ago

      interesting TAHEB FOR EVER

    • profile image

      Life Unplugged 8 years ago

      Really interesting piece of information !!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Congratulations for making it to top 5 of the Hubnuggets! Yipppeee!

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 8 years ago from INDIA

      Yes it is a sad sad comment upon the rising intolerance in our society that a genius like M F Husaain is forced into exile that we can no longer view his work in India having any kind of guarantee that it will not be vandalised.

    • SEO Expert Kerala profile image

      SEO Expert Kerala 8 years ago from KERALA

      nice work....But most of indian arts have market in foreign countries , but in india they are insulted (eg :M F Hussain issues )

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Reena, congratulations for being a Hubnuggets Wannabe!!! Woohooo The moon really brings strange and mysterious things like your Indian art hub. This is indeed fascinating. I am amazed at how a person can create such things. LOL Cheers!

      To vote for the Hubnuggets just click this link:

      Enjoy the Hubnuggets and get your votes moving!!! Have fun!

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      Very interesting! I love the skull and car. :D

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 8 years ago from INDIA

      I got nominated? How do you know? And Thanks

    • An Archigirl profile image

      An Archigirl 8 years ago

      Fantasic hub! Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination:)

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 8 years ago from INDIA

      Thanks Teresa McGurk

      @Lita Yes i do know that Indian art is a bit of an unknown quantity in the West; which is slowly changing as the Indian sensibility is slowly gaining currency in the West.

      @Wordscribe if you look at the bucket from afar, it gives the impression of something frothing and spilling over, but looking closely you see many common items of an Indian household: the steel katori (a shallow cup), the steel 'glass', the tiffin carrier, its lid with a handle, peculiar Indian ladles, all emerging from another ubiquitous Indian item, the steel bucket (replaced largely with the plastic bucket now in the Indian household)

    • profile image

      wordscribe41 8 years ago

      Great hub, Reena. I dig off-beat, interesting art like this. The sculptures are amazing. Trying to figure out what exactly is coming out of that bucket... Smaller buckets? Anyway, nicely done.

    • profile image

      Leta S 8 years ago

      Interesting! I didn't know. You don't hear too much about modern Indian art, even if you have studied art. I really like the Tyeb Mehta painting--it is reminding me of Matisse in the flatness and coloration.

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 8 years ago from The Other Bangor

      How interesting and informative. I really liked the sculptures.

    • Reena Daruwalla profile image

      Reena Daruwalla 8 years ago from INDIA

      Yes weird but very interesting I thought. And I really loved the sunken cab, because anyone who's lived in Mumbai during the monsoon has actually seen that.

      I was wanted to do the post since Tyeb Mehta recently passed away.

    • bala99 profile image

      Bala Subrahmanyam Vishnubhotla 8 years ago from Hyderabad, Telangana, India.

      Reena, Nice to see Indian art, the vessels were a bit weird though. Welcome back!


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