Notes on Culture & Antique Art, Ethnic Decor & Vintage Fashion | Wovensouls Art Gallery
….and other ramblings.
In some categories of art it is easy to spot a reproduction.
For example the Mona Lisa is a very well known painting and if we were to find it on Ebay it is safe to say that it is a reproduction or a fake as it is improbable that a second artist would have come up with the same original artistic composition of the same model in the same medium.
But in other media like a Patola sari weaving – one artwork is very similar to another and motifs & layouts are a part of the community knowledge. So calling one an original and another a reproduction or a copy is an absurd idea.
It simply does not apply to arts that are creative assets of a whole ethnic group of people. This is especially true if the art is a living tradition and still being produced by the community. In this case there are only older works and recent works – but all could be original and authentic.
A few examples are Thangkas from the Himalayan Buddhist world. Or the Benarasi silk saris or Assamese Mekhla Chadors. Living Arts where the recent production is as good as the old.
Further sometimes, as in the case of some Kutch arts, the recent works are better executed than older works – so it is not even necessary that pieces that have age are technically superior.
Technical Superiority, authenticity, materials, condition and finally age all matter.
But the most important factor in acquiring an artwork is whether it appeals aesthetically or not. And the aesthetic is usually heavily correlated with who made it and the prevailing creative preferences at the time of making. And if one has seen enough numbers of good pieces from a group, the eye and the soul are well trained to react appropriately to a fresh piece presented.
So I usually listen to the soul.
However, if one is looking for an investment and seeking value then all the other factors come in and mess up one’s intuition and one’s desire that arises from soul.
And then the vague ambition to be a ‘Warren Buffet’ in art in order to impress my banker arises…
An that is the beginning of a calamitous decision.
The disastrous split-focus between the soul and the ego entertaining some silly thought of financial soundness leads to confusion.
And then either a great piece is forgone or an average piece enters the door. (because I thought I’d profit from it).
And there is the next category – investments in the soul!
Will illustrate this with a piece that falls under my “one that got away” folder: An amazing complete manuscript starting price GBP 5500 at an auction.
5 5 0 0 !!
I was in 2 minds whether to bid on it at all … because it was out of my league financially …. with the premium and Singapore taxes it was too much to put down on one item. I consulted my husband who was as usual ‘supportive’ which means that there was no real “yes” or “no” direction.
I imagined owning the piece and already felt the trepidation of “what have I done – how could I pay so much!!!” But it was the one piece that was so beautiful my soul was dancing at the thought of having it in front of me to look at and enjoy.
But in the war between soul & mind, the bank balance made my soul lose.
And so I ran away from the internet and hid behind the activity of grocery shopping for sugar and dal while this auction was on.
The first thing I did upon return was to hurriedly check the price it sold at.
On the way back I fantasized that if it hadn’t been sold – I’d write in and ask to buy it if they’d lower the premium a bit……
But but but..
The important manuscript narrating the history of a community through 244 folios and 29 paintings, not only surpassed its estimate it sold at a whopping 170000 GBP!
1 7 0 000
YES – four zeros! Pounds!!
Sigh! My heart hurts … having champagne tastes on a beer budget is extremely painful…
If you’d like to join me in my pain… I’ll send you a link to the auction lot …let’s all yearn for it together!