Photo of Manisha Kumar

Partner in the General Corporate Practice at the Mumbai office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Manisha specialises in cross border private equity investments and mergers & acquisitions, across diverse sectors. She also advises on art law.

Manisha is a ‘recommended lawyer’ by clients, as featured in London based RSG Consulting’s India Report for 2015. She can be reached at manisha.kumar@cyrilshroff.com

Potential Maisuse of Art Markets - Stakeholders Beware - Art Law

Understanding the Indian Art Market

The Indian art market comprises a number of stakeholders performing different roles. The primary art market includes the relatively new and unknown artists, along with the more recognised contemporary artists. These artists may often work with private art galleries on a contractual basis, with revenue sharing and exclusivity being heavily negotiated terms.

The secondary art market generally features collectors looking to resell their collections to buyers who want to diversify theirs. Apart from the private art galleries, secondary market participants include auction houses (including online auction houses), public museums, art fairs and festivals. Artwork prices in the primary market usually tend to be lower to that of the secondary market, since artworks usually take time before they attain prominence for their artistic value, rarity and historical significance. Accordingly, by the time these works are resold, their prices tend to be higher.
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Provenance, simply put, means the history of the whereabouts of an artwork from the day it was created by the artist to the present. While provenance is generally intended to be a ‘chain of title’ that includes every owner of the work since its creation, in practice, it typically tends to merely include a listing of some interesting facts concerning the background of the work, such as notable former owners and exhibition of the work at some prestigious venues.[1] An ideal provenance must, at the very least, contain important information such as the dimensions, medium, date of creation of the artwork and must provide documentary record of owners’ names, date of ownership, methods of transference – inheritance, or sale through a dealer or auction, locations where the work was kept, from the time of its creation by the artist until the present day.[2]


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