How to Determine the Price of a Painting
From recently-discovered prehistoric cave art to the sprawling Renaissance frescoes, the discipline of painting has played a significant role in the development of human culture and in the artistic communication of the human experience. It is therefore no surprise that, to some, the value of painted artworks lies far beyond the materials used to create them. Within the commercial world of art, quantifying the value of a painting can be somewhat of an arduous process. Today, Artsper invites you to explore the 5 key factors which determine the monetary value of a painting.
1. The notoriety of the artist
As noted in our article on the value of art, one of the most important factors that determines the price of a painting is the notoriety of the artist. The monetary value of a painting is generally tied to the reputation of the artist who created it, because this work will generate a higher demand in the market. Equally when an artist dies, their work will often encounter an increase in price as their works are now in permanently scarce supply. To illustrate this, look no further than the life and death of Vincent Van Gogh. The post-impressionist painter famously sold one painting during his life. Yet, in 2021, his painting Street Scene in Montmartre sold for $16 million at auction.
2. The painting’s dimensions
Adoring fans are often surprised to learn that the Mona Lisa, valued at $100 million in 1962, is not a full-length portrait. Despite this, the size of a painting is also a significant factor in determining its price. In purely practical terms, a larger painting requires more materials, time, and resources to create. Therefore, these considerations can increase the price of a painting. If you commission an artist to produce a painting, one of the first questions that you will be asked is “What size are you hoping for?” In more theoretical terms, larger paintings can tend to be more visually eye-catching and varied in thematic content. This can make them more desirable to art collectors.
3. The physical condition of a painting
How well a painting has lasted throughout the ages is another factor that affects its price. Naturally, this factor pertains rather more to artworks that were produced centuries ago. An example of this would be pieces from the Renaissance or early modern period. As far as aesthetic value is concerned, artworks that are in excellent condition, with no signs of wear and tear, are usually priced higher than those that have been damaged or restored. In addition to restoration being a costly process, it can significantly reduce the “original” value of a painting.
4. The historical significance of the painting
Paintings are wonderful in so far as they are a product of their time. Art carries a story of the context in which it was produced, of the prevailing artistic movement to which it contributed. Paintings that have played an important role in history or that are associated with significant events or people can be highly valuable. For example, a work by Jackson Pollock is valued according to its contribution to the iconic post-war abstract expressionism movement. Equally, a painting which contemporaneously addresses a critical moment in history, such as Picasso’s Guernica can be more valuable than a piece of art which retrospectively explores moments in history. This increase in value is a testament to the shared attitude towards paintings as a historical relic.
5. The market’s demand for the painting
The art market is no different to any other industry, in so far as the price of goods is determined by supply and demand. Therefore, the price of a painting is quantified by its market demand, or rather, how much people would like to purchase it. If there is high demand for a particular artist or style of painting, the price of a painting will increase. Be sure to explore our selection of works on special offer, where you can find pieces from master artists at a reduced price. Your investment will benefit from the market demand for pieces by these well-known artists!
However, if there is little demand for a particular artist or style of painting, the price will decrease. This is why it’s important to keep your eye on popular styles which are on the rise, or on new and remarkable artists in the market. You should also keep an eye on the market news in order to anticipate new trends. Moreover, exhibitions, fairs and auctions often have an impact on prices. Thus, choosing the right moment is a precious asset for both the budding or learned collector. Don’t hesitate to contact the Artsper team! We will be happy to help you find your favorite piece at the best price.
You can also find selections of works on Artsper which specifically meet your budget, whether that is $1000 or $500. Our experts price works according to the trends and currents of the contemporary art market, so you can trust that you are getting the best deal on your investment.
And there you have a whistle stop tour around the process of pricing paintings, which might seem a bit complex to an art collector. From an artwork’s historical significance to the reputation of its artist, there are plenty of factors which impact the price of a painting. Have your eye on some works from a particular movement or period? Be sure to explore our selection of curated thematics. Which artwork will you add to your collection next?
Founded in 2013, Artsper is an online marketplace for contemporary art. Partnering with 1,800 professional art galleries around the world, it makes discovering and acquiring art accessible to all.Learn more