INVEST IN ART: Art has finally been accepted as one of the golden key to creating wealth in the medium to long term investment with little or no risk involved. Investing in art is one alternative investment strategy, which has been gaining increasing acceptance around the world. The increasing activity of art auction houses over the last decade has provided an important secondary market which has resulted in easy liquidity of prominent names in the contemporary indian art scene.

Indian Art has given a 2000% return over the last 5 years; this figure has been calculated by taking an average appreciation in value of paintings by 50 artists over the last 5 years. Compare this with some of the best Equity Mutual Funds have given a return of 1100% over the same period as compared with the Sensex which has appreciated by only 200% And property which is considered a safe investment has given a return of 250% over the same term. The conclusion is that art has out performed them considerably giving the highest returns.

In the past 2 years, investors have started at least 4 "art funds" in which a curator buys and sells artworks instead of stocks.

How to start? Start watching a lot of art by going to galleries, art shows, reading art books, catalogues, speak to artists, art teachers, see online if you are net freak and finally try to think which one apeals to you more and why does it catch your breath. Increase your knowledge of the materials and terms used in the catalogues and try to ask if you have any doubts on the technique or medium to as many people. Join network groups and discuss art and I bet you will get loads of information from the net these days.

What to look for? So if you have decided to make an investment on an artwork it is very important to keep in mind few points:
* Love at first sight - This holds true to artworks and it has worked for me all the time and I hate to part with some works though.
* Artist - Few artists are committed to selected galleries who command high price range but the growth aspect is more unlike artists who sell their works from their home studio. New artists are better bargain but risk factor is high.
* Authenticity - Very important when you are investing your hard earned money, insist on artists counter signature and buy from known sources so that you could always return the work if you have any doubts over the authenticity of the artwork.
* Availability - Always try to buy something which is not available in majority of shows - laxma goud is famous for painting with watercolor, try to look for his work on other surface like glass or acrylic sheet which will cost you more but will pay you more when you want to part with it for resale (this is just an example and not a rule).

How much should I? One can make a modest start with limited edition prints and grow to pencil sketches of senior artists to the canvas work of renowned artists over a period of time gradually.

There are 2 variables to follow: Buy unknown artists bigger works for less price or buy known artists smaller work for bigger price, it all depends on your affordability of funds at a given period of time. Let me warn you here at this juncture that it is addictive and also contagious as per my knowledge.

Rs. 2500 to Rs. 5000 - buy signed prints of top indian senior artists like Arpana Caur, Ganesh Haloi, Laxma Goud, Krishen Khanna, Paritosh Sen, Prabhakar Kolte, Suhas Roy, Sunil Das, Vaikuntam, Yusuf Arakkal etc.

Rs 5000 to Rs. 10000 - buy intaglio etchings of Ajit Dubey, Atin Basak, Pinaki Barua, Fawad Tamkanat, JMS Mani etc.

Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 25,000 - buy original paintings of Avadesh Yadav, J M S Mani, T M Aziz, C F John, Rajeshwara Rao, Nandini Goud, Mohan Malviya etc.

Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 100,000 - buy Aparajithan, Babu Xavier, Laxman Aelay, Partha Shaw, Ravikumar Kashi, Viraj Naik etc,

Rs. 100,000 to Rs. 200,000 - Akhitam Narayanan, Chandra Bhattacharya, Harshvardhana, Senathipathi, Shuvaprasanna, Vaikuntam etc.

Rs. 200,000 onwards - Adimoolam, Anjolie Ela Menon, Laxma Goud, Paritosh Sen, K G Subramanyam, Yusuf Arakkal, Lalu Prasad Shaw, Sakti Burman, etc.

Watch out for artists who is represented by a good gallery with lot of reviews, good sales in solo shows.

Happy collecting! Should you need any advice or help to source works, feel free to contact!

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