Do your legwork, research the artist, before you invest | A guide from art expert Mannu Dosaj, Director of Gallerie Alternatives

If you know nothing about art, where do you start? What should you be willing to spend? How do you know which emerging artists to pick? IFM asked Mannu Dosaj, Owner of Gallerie Alternatives, the oldest gallery in Gurgaon. This is what we learned.


Legwork | Visit eight-10 galleries. Choose artists you like. Question the curators on how and why they decide to feature the artists they do. This will make you understand their thought process of ascertaining which emerging artists have promise.

Room art

Artist history | Find out where the artist has shown, the number of shows, quantum of work and so on. This shows consistency, which translates into visibility.

Prices | Check the artist’s prices across his/her different works. Steady growth is sometimes a better show of future performance than sharp peaks in price. Online art sites are a good place to start looking at prices.

Modern art

Auction houses | These are a relatively reliable and transparent place to learn about art prices. Saffronart, Christies’ and others, all give details and prices of a range of Indian artists.

Art funds | They buy and sell art solely for the purpose of investment. Hence, you can be sure that any artist an art fund carries has been well researched and their work should gain value over the years.


Experts | Speak to as many as you can-curators, auctioneers, and consultants who are able to identify artists with promise. However, most experts are tied to a business interest, therefore your own research and study of the market are important.

Patience | Maintain a horizon of 10 years, given the current market. Yes, market hype and economic recession can adversely impact art value. Remember, art is a luxury.

Courses | Art appreciation courses are offered by the National Museum. They are weekly and inexpensive. You don’t have to appreciate the artist being talked about. But it will train your eye for the time you’re scouting for art in galleries and online.

Size | This does not necessarily dictate price. Small paintings can be more expensive than larger ones, depending on the work.

Medium | Photography, installation art, pottery, and sculpture are also beautiful to buy and worth investing in. However, if you are new to the world of applied arts, paintings are a good place to start.

Intuition | Once you’ve done some research, go home and let go for a few days. Let intuition come into play. From the artists you have studied, wait to see which image comes back repeatedly to your mind. That is the piece you obviously like, and that is the one you should try and acquire.

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