The Value of Art - How is it Determined

By | 9:33 PM
Photograph of several blueberries lined up.
The Value of a Dollar, © Jonathan Blaustein, Courtesy: New Mexico Arts
How do you sort out what is the value of any piece of original art and what comparisons should be taken into consideration. The value of art is a matter that has many variables to consider. If art is measured in terms of money only then no price could be low enough for a buyer.  Since it is indeed a commodity item from the artist’s point of view, prices must be determined for reimbursement. 

A short-sighted response many have is to offer a seasoned artist a price comparable to that of a reproduction piece of similar style and size. Typical to basic economics, a supply-and-demand structure does exist.   Art that is a reproduction naturally has greater supply than an original which is contingent upon the authentic output of the artist.  An actual single person creating art does not have the capacity for duplication on the same level as a factory’s production whether the items are molded dolls, or printed copies of paintings, etc. The idea to underline here is that we cannot expect original art to be classified the same.  

Another line of thought regarding artistic value is to consider if a print or reproduction of an original demeans the worth of the real artwork made by the artist’s hand.  For instance, think for a moment if all the copied images of great art masterpieces have lessened their value.  Can we think less of the Mona Lisa just because many have taken the liberty to print her mysterious smile on postcards, pillows, mugs, t-shirts etc?  The original is still a one-of-a kind.


Here is a simplistic breakdown in terms of typical product manufacturing art or not: there has to be a way to cover costs, time and energy invested, and an appraisal of the level of skill applied. In shopping for art people usually set forth with an idea in mind as to a particular medium and style, possibly also thinking of a size and color as well.  In the decorative sense, art is mainly desired to serve a purpose specific to the space it is destined to adorn, and if it is not overly personal, there is a vast array of pre-made art ready for such shoppers. The intended meaning of the artwork you wish to acquire will greatly determine how much to budget for it. How specific the need for the art is can impact the cost one should expect to pay.

As an artist becomes popular and collectible, the demand factor grows.  Well-renowned artists enjoy the inflation of the value of their artworks based on the fact that people will purchase their pieces as a display of status.  In such cases, the supply provided by these artists becomes more limited. 

Art has to speak to your heart and if that happens then owning the piece has unlimited value.  The person owning it would then benefit through their connection to their piece of art as long as they own it. Passing the artwork from one family member to the next over generations would only increase its monetary value as well as its personal connection to their hearts as sentimental value.  


US$ 10,00 each. by Ivan B. Carmo on 500px.com
US$ 10,00 each. by Ivan B. Carmo




© Rebecca Knight
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