Arts Illustrated

August 10, 2021

A Millennial Turn for Auctions?

As the online art auction module spreads like wildfire, is it really a space designed to be manoeuvred by all connoisseurs of art or just the prevailing internet users?

Maheen Afshan. F

One of the richest industries in the world which goes by the term ‘art’, brims with these words – ‘Going once… Going twice… Sold!’ Buying, selling, bidding, collecting, is what erects the framework of the art industry which since the beginning of times has stood tall and mighty. For an outsider (anyone outside the art circle), it may seem like a bunch of royals fighting over a piece of art, but for every art lover, it is the essence of ambrosia.

Contrary to the Hollywood touch of auctioning with movies like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and series like the Gossip Girl, auctioning is a well-orchestrated, sophisticated event with buyers, sellers and collectors. Yet, despite it all, one of the drawing concerns of today’s auction world remains the online field which stretches far, and fuelled by the pandemic, stretches ever farther.

‘Online auctions are a standard practise across the globe. As a matter of fact, the auction market was inclined towards migrating to an online module even prior to the current shift in trend as observed, considering many reputed international auction houses were already conducting and presenting important catalogues through their online auctions prior to 2020 and have sold important works through their online platforms.’ says Sunny Chandiramani the Vice President of AstaGuru.

In the place of banging gavels, we hear soft snips of the clicking mouse and where our eyes are should be taking in the posh suits and glamour, they are wide open and stuck to the monitors and mobile screens. It is clear that the auctions taking place in the online space and especially the digital portals are what are rising to fame, but to what extent?

‘The highest selling artwork for our organisation is Tyeb Mehta’s painting titled Bull. The oil on canvas creation, executed by the artist in the year 2000, was auctioned for Rs. 19,98,11,074/-‘ AstaGuru, has been solely operating digitally since its inception in 2008 with the sole purpose of establishing a seamless interface to conduct online auctions for Indian, Contemporary and Modern Art.

Tyeb Mehta, Bull, Oil on Canvas, 2000, Winning Bid
Tyeb Mehta, Bull, Oil on Canvas, 2000, Winning Bid

Chandiramani explains how the online auction houses in India have not just a smooth run, but are also successfully thriving. ‘We have never operated with an orthodox approach, and with the world melting into one harmonious digital cosmos, AstaGuru has strived to successfully bridge the gap between prospective buyers and consignors by transcending the limitations of live auctions.’

While online auction houses have been established to offer bidders the opportunity to bid from the comfort of their houses or while they are on the go, the fact that most of the internet users happen to be the millennial does not escape reality. And, though not deliberately, the spectrum of bidders and buyers seem to shift towards the millennial population. This poses the question whether the Indian art auction scale online is slowly progressing towards the millennial loop – millennial for millennial.

‘While seasoned collectors have been leading the way, Indian art has huge potential and is gaining a firm foothold in uncharted avenues. Despite the majority being millennials, we have buyers across demographics interested in online auctions. The relevance of India’s glorious past in tandem with our present global exposure transmutes the artistic output with a heightened appeal amongst buyers. The online auction model has also given a great boost to the Indian art market with its ease of accessibility. Buyers are comfortable with acquiring art through online auctions. We provide the buyer with all the relevant information that they would need to make an informed decision including details on the artworks, the artist and a condition report of the work which makes the transaction seamless.’


All images in this blog are due to the courtesy of AstaGuru


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