Non-art sales surge over five years: Astaguru


New Delhi: Art auction house Astaguru, which added non-art categories to its portfolio about seven years ago, witnessed a significant jump in sales of categories such as horologe timepieces, precious jewellery and opulent collectables.

Non-art categories contributed a majority of its business with a whopping 1,153% sales growth over the year earlier in 2022 to 37 crore. In 2017, its non-art category posted sales of 2.95 crore, it said. According to estimates, India’s non-art auction sector in 2022 was at 55 crore.

The company seeks to scale its non-art category business to 200 crore in the next four to five years. In FY21, it posted sales of 270 crore, with nearly 30 crore contribution from watches and jewellery.

“While people collect art for its aesthetic beauty, collectors are always on the lookout for other categories with value. Whether it is a piece of heirloom jewellery or fine silver,” Siddanth Shetty, senior vice president of business strategy and operations at the auction house, said.

“One of the main categories emerging from this diversification has culminated in our jewellery, silver, and timepieces auction. Pre-owned timepieces from leading brands around the world are popular in this category,” he added.

The company also launched its opulent collectibles auction offering fine antiques and furniture, among other collectibles in January 2021, and have since held two auctions.

India has a big second hand collectors‘ market, but art still makes a big dent. The firm’s business from the art category grew from 6.86 crore in 2017 to 35.45 crore in 2022. Anish Kapoor, Subodh Gupta, Raqib Shaw and Bharti Kher were top sellers with Kapoor selling over 30 lots for 20 crore.

While recent estimates are not available, India’s art market is estimated to have been valued at around 14.6 billion, ( 1,460 crore), in 2017, according to a FICCI-KPMG report.

Atul Dodiya and Jitish Kallat sold nine and eight lots respectively during 2022 on Astaguru’s platform. Dodiya’s lots garnered 2.36 crore and Kallat’s 1.27 crore.

Astaguru competes with the likes of SaffronArt and deRivaz& Ives. Earlier this year, deRivaz& Ives sold art worth 11.86 crore in its first Modern Indian Art Online Auction.

Last year, many big art pieces went for sale online. While a Vasudeo S. Gaitonde painting sold for 32 crore, Maqbool Fida Husain’s oil-on-canvas work, made in 1958, sold for 18.47 crore—the first ever online sales of the maestro’s paintings.

Several other famous Indian artworks, too, have been fetching record sums since 2020. In 2021, at an auction of modern and contemporary work from South Asia held in London, Sotheby’s sold ‘Krishna Hotel’ by Bhupen Khakhar for £1.2 million, six times the pre-auction estimates of £200,000-400,000. Francis Newton Souza’s Red Building was sold for 9.5 crore at the event.

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