Home Art collection Indian art consultant Dev Bhojwani shares 7 tips for collectors, from avoiding...

Indian art consultant Dev Bhojwani shares 7 tips for collectors, from avoiding fakes to spotting bias among advisors

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Vishni Art Consultants and Consultants is not for everyone and they are proud of it.

The London-based consultancy specializing in contemporary Indian art believes that uniqueness is what sets it apart. Founded by Dev Bhojwani, VAA&C aims to offer objective, researched and straightforward advice to potential and existing investors in the contemporary Indian art market, an area that can be opaque to those unfamiliar with its nuances and difficult to navigate even. for seasoned collectors. .

Rather than offering its two cents on artists to watch, the advisory brings together scientific expertise and market data on artists in which clients have shown interest. His approach also takes into account the fluctuations of the Indian art market, for both buyers and sellers. .

Recently, we spoke with Bhojwani about the risks and benefits of collecting Indian art.

How did you get interested in art and why did you decide to open a consulting firm?
I’ve been interested in Indian art and antiques since I was in my mid-twenties (a long time ago!) And collect sporadically. I trust my own tastes – art is subjective, isn’t it? – but I have noticed the absence of truly impartial art advisers and consultants for Indian art. I have met individuals and businesses willing to “advise” by selling inventory from their own collection or collections from galleries and artists with whom they have trade agreements. I thought there was a niche for transparent, confident and “sworn” advice.

What are the pitfalls of collecting Indian art?
The pitfalls are the same for any art purchase: beware of counterfeits! And, in the case of Indian antiques, beware of illegally acquired coins.

What precautions can collectors take?
Be sure to inspect the lot you are interested in, in person. Make sure you buy the work in a jurisdiction that has a long-standing and reputable legal framework for breach of contract or if you are selling a fake. Most importantly, make sure the seller can guarantee that the work is genuine and of unambiguous provenance.

What sets your board apart?
VAA & C is about as unbiased as a review can get. Our goal is to provide clients – private and business – with an assessment of whether an artist’s work is worth the “sticker price”. We don’t tell customers what to buy; we advise them on what we think is a fair price for something they want to buy. At the end of the day, it’s the customer’s money and they can decide it anyway.

We attach great importance to solid legal and commercial foundations. We are insured by Hiscox to conduct our business worldwide and we work with reputable attorneys and law firms: Leila Amineddoleh at Amineddoleh and Associates LLC in the United States; Jennie Baek at McMillan LLP in Canada; and Daniel Tozer of Keystone Law in the UK. Our clients can be assured that we can advise you on Indian art, but we are not cowboys!

Is collecting art for investment something you would recommend? Is it successful?

Investing in art is not a guaranteed path to wealth. While some investments are definitely successful, the majority are not. Investors are urged to exercise due diligence. The last thing you want is a depreciating work of art. An alternative would be to limit your exposure by investing in an art investment fund and let the general partner / managing partner of the fund diversify your risk and investment. In the interest of full disclosure, I am the Managing Partner of Vishni Art Partners LLC, which manages the Vishni Art Fund, which invests in Indian art and antiques.

What advice would you give to a beginning collector?
Buy what you like, not what galleries and art publications tell you to like. The art world is full of creamy shysters that jostle each other’s eyes. Visit art fairs (if it’s safe!), View auctions, and read relevant publications. You are just as likely to pick up a beautiful piece of art for 500 rupees on the sidewalks outside the Jehangir Art Gallery in Mumbai as you are at an auction. Bargain hard!

Which contemporary Indian artists are you looking at?
I can’t name the artists whose work I collect because I don’t want to be accused of increasing their value, unfortunately. However, I do not own the work of Ramkinkar Baij, a painter and sculptor whose work emphasizes rural India. I would like to own one of his pieces one day, but his work is rarely offered for sale.

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