Artists to Invest In.

Artists to Invest In.

Collecting art as an assest of investment requires patience and an eye for beauty, no matter how personal it may be. If you pick correctly, a good work of art will give you handsome returns. The painters from the Progressive Artists Group without doubt, individually and as well as together are the country’s most famous painters. Recognition and worldwide fame have catapulted their market value to astronomical realms. The prices of Indian art was at an all time low at the turn of the century with worldwide recognition and interest in such artists was negligible. Come 2006, the best year for Indian artists, most artists hit the upper circuit with their names splashing across headlines and newspapers with the buzz they were creating inside the auction rooms. For example, if one bought a painting for a lakh in the 90’s by any of these artists, their value today is anywhere between Rs.30-40 lakh. If you were to invest in good Indian art for a good ROI(Return on Investment) where would you place your bets? So what is a good winning formula? This may be seen in two ways by observing the market and auction trends- 1- Senior artists M.F.Husain, Ram Kumar, S.H.Raza, F.N.Souza, Akbar Padamsee, Tyeb Mehta, Vasudeo.S.Gaitonde and Amrita Sher-Gil will always remain in the top-bracket. Not only are they the best artists, but by following simple economics, the demand of their works increases each year with rises in their price as the supply is limited in the market since the artist is not alive anymore. If you’re serious in investing art and have the money to buy their works, these artists are sure to give you a good return. However, if you are not willing to spend such serious money, start investing in drawings by these artists which are equally in great demand and have a great return value. For example, a drawing by M.F. Husain or Souza can range between Rs.1-5 lakh depending on size and content. This is a good lesson for the younger generation, who wish to create wealth and have big assets at a later stage in their life. Investing a lakh rupees in a year in art can really pay off handsomely.


Investing in drawings by artists like F.N.Souza and M.F.Husain is becoming a popular trend among collectors.

2- Almost in the same category are artists like Krishen Khanna, Anjolie Ela Menon, Jogen Chowdhury, Sakti Burman, Lalu Prasad Shaw, A.Ramachandran,Badri Narayan, Thota Vaikuntam, Sunil Das, Rabin Mondal. K.Laxma Goud, Bikash Bhattacharjee, K.G.Subramanyan amongst others. While some of them are dead, artists like Krishen Khanna, Anjolie Ela Menon and Jogen Chowdhury are top draws at the auction. Given their advancing age, it’s a good option to invest in some of these living masters. The question that rises in our mind is that should one always buy art by veteran artists? The answer is yes. Even if you are on a limited budget, you can look at some of the cheaper forms offered by them like sketches, pen on paper works. But one must always go for established name, this is because of the availability of detailed auction history of their works and because their works are termed as blue-chips due to their established track record. An oil on canvas is always the most expensive form of painting. The next is followed by an acrylic on canvas followed by an acrylic on paper or board. A watercolour would be cheaper than these. If you want to invest less, you could go for a watercolour by artists like Ara or Badri Narayan or even a Husain or Sakti Burman. They could fetch you anywhere between Rs.5-10 lakh. If you wish to spend a bit more, you can get a reasonably good sized acrylic on canvas by Raza or Husain between Rs.15-25 lakh.


An oil on canvas by Souza will be of greater value and appreciation value as compared to a watercolour work.

A few artists to stress on while you are thinking of investing are as follows- K.Laxma Goud, best known for his small paintings of village life in south India have a consistent demand. Buy a work by Goud blind-folded,you can never go wrong. Thota Vaikuntam is another top draw for many collectors due to the aesthetic appeal of his work,which captures the essence of the Telangana people in their rich garb. You can easily acquire a Vaikuntam for Rs.2-4 Lakh.


Vaikuntam's work is a top draw amongst collectors for their intense colours and rooted Indian quality.

Over the years, Rabin Mondal has generated much buzz and interest with his totemic figures and garish faces with their deep visages. Living in relative obscurity for a long time, the artist’s work is selling well at the international auctions well and in our Indian markets as well at times high as Rs. 17 lakh. Acquire a small or medium head by this famous artist for Rs.70,000-90,000. Don’t be surprised when it doubles every other year. With his death in 2019, supply has come down and demand for his work has shot up.


Acquire a small Rabin and enjoy the rewards later.

Perhaps one of the most significant artist alive, Jogen Chowdhury is a favourite amongst collectors and investors. The sinuous lines, the cross-hatching and the exquisite details of his work make him a desirable asset. Jogen’s work is getting more and more difficult to come by. A good work by the artist can never go wrong. Be it his erotic couples or still-life pieces, a work by Jogen Chowdhury is a must for any serious collector who wishes to put his money in the right place.


You can never go wrong with a Jogen.

The highly talented husband-wife duo Paresh Maity and Jayasri Burman as well as Shuvaprasanna and Shipra Bhattacharya are also top artists. An owl or crow or even a ‘Golden Flute’ Krishna painting by Shuvaprasanna is bound to give you a good return on investment. The same goes for Paresh Maity and Jayasri Burman, known for lush landscapes and cubist faces. Buy now, reap later. The most underrated artist artist from Kolkata by far is Ramananda Bandyopadhyay. The works of the artist have stagnated on the pricing front. With advancing age his output has diminished. You can expect a strong demand at much higher price levels, so he is a good investment.


Ramananda Bandyopadhyay.

Ganesh Haloi is another important artist from an investment point of view. A growing interest in this artist’s work is a testament to his skill making him one of India’s most important abstract painters. While a lot of industries and sectors like travel and hospitality suffered greatly with the Covid-19 pandemic, somehow the art market and interior design industry saw a big boom. One way of looking at it is because a lot of people started working from home, they started looking at their homes differently and surround themselves with something that gave them happiness during this time of gloom also with an idea of future gains. If you want to start your collection and don’t know whom to collect, some of the artists worth looking into are- Chittrovanu Mazumdar, Seema Kohli, Paresh Maity, Thota Vaikuntam, Paritosh Sen, Ramesh Gorjala, Manu Parekh, Jayasri Burman, Laxma Goud, Sunil Das, Chandra Bhattacharya and Bharti Kher. These artists are really trending.


- Vinayak Pasricha.