If we talk about today’s market, regulation has become a major part of the businesses. Especially the companies and unions enforcing the contractual obligations and government ensuring the principles of law are on point. If we talk about India, we can trace back the significance of regulated markets since our independence. Regulation is imperative in markets for its proper functioning. When we specifically talk about art , what we see is that India does not have a regulated market for art. There are a plethora of legal cases that arise when there is no regulation.
In India art law is governed by The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972’. It is the principle act for sale and trade of Art and antiques in India and abroad. The jurisprudence of this act coming into existence in the first place is to stop the smuggling of art and to protect the true essence of art. Another reason is to make acquisition and preservation of art easy. But unfortunately this act fails to fit the current demands in the market.
If we go by the laws in this act what we observe is that the sale and purchase is only limited by the territory of India and does not really look into cross border sales. This law can be proven really dangerous especially when Indian artists are dealing with European markets. Another ambiguity which we observe is the absence of “collectibles”. Collectibles are an item valued and sought by collectors especially a curio which is like a small object having a lot of significance.
We find ancient curios in the temple towns of South India. Its not only about India but throughout the world its a major issue. 1 ”New York’s 165-year-old Knoedler Gallery, which snapped shut in 2011. It had been selling fakes for decades, with buyers told only they were the property of “Mr X” and his son, “Mr X Junior”. The Michigan art dealer Eric Spoutz was recently convicted of selling dozens of counterfeit artworks to unsuspecting buyers. Lawrence Salander of the now defunct Salander O’Reilly gallery in New York defrauded customers to the tune of millions before what was dubbed the “art world’s Ponzi scheme” collapsed.”
The market especially for art has been facing several issues especially fraud and theft.In the 1MDB scandal the case is still going on, where art was apparently bought with money allegedly looted from a Malaysian sovereign fund.There are a plethora of cases if we talk about the intellectual property infringement. The paintings auctioned in millions get no worth when sold in Khan Market for a petty price. If we leave the renowned artists aside, the major problem is faced by the newcomers of art in this field. These artists spend day and night working on their paintings. It takes an arm and a leg to let galleries buy your artwork especially when you are a new artist in the market. Such practises will not only degrade the career of the artist but may eventually decrease the value of the painting as well. But if we talk about IPR laws in India , the artists face real problems . Many times the artists are not given credit or recognised for the works that are being put out in public.
The last thing which we need to understand is the indemnity of the gallery or agency to indemnify artists in case of fraud or theft. Such contractual clauses should be mandated by the state not only to protect the artist but also to protect the vendors as well. The unregulated market especially in case of offshore dealing can prove to be a real danger if it’s not done as per the laws.