“What is the real value of an artwork?” Discover our advice when valuing an artwork and continue your art collection journey with us.
What is the real value of an artwork? This question is constantly asked, partly answered, or escaped by individuals inside and outside of the art market. While the true value of art is subjective, and one might say that “the only real value of an artwork is what somebody is willing to pay for it”, there are still a few key factors that can help provide an objective valuation of an artwork.
Primary vs Secondary Market
The first thing to note is what market the artworks are sold in. Primary market works come directly from the artist’s studio and are generally sold in a gallery.
New and unseen works on the market will most often be slightly more valuable than secondary market works which have already switched hands. I say “most often” because in some cases, the production of an artist is smaller than the demand, and collectors can end up paying a premium at auction or in secondary market private sales.
Where should you start when estimating an artwork?
You should always try to get a broad overview of what the primary and secondary market prices of a certain artist’s work. Prices can vary from series to series, or from work to work, but you will be able to get a ballpark idea of an artist's price range by enquiring about prices at its gallery(-ies), and at auction.
What factors do you want to consider?
There are a few different factors that can affect the value of an artwork:
1. The artist: Artworks by well-known and established artists are generally more valuable than those by lesser-known or emerging artists.
2. The medium: Some mediums, such as oil on canvas, are more highly valued than others, such as prints or works on paper.
3. The condition of the artwork: An artwork that is in good condition will generally be worth more than one that is damaged or in poor condition.
4. The size of the artwork: Larger artworks are often more valuable than smaller ones.
5. The rarity of the artwork: An artwork that is unique or one-of-a-kind may be worth more than a similar work that is part of a larger edition.
6. The demand for the artist or style of the artwork: Artworks by artists or in styles that are currently in demand will generally be worth more than those that are less popular.
With all this in mind, it is always useful to seek advice and get second opinions on the value of artworks. Also, sometime the real value of a piece will depend on the love you have for it, paticularly at auction, where no one will prevent you from keeping bidding until you win the lot!
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