Value Your Art

Part 1 > Looking at the Art It self
  • Research the artist’s output. How many works of art did the artist complete? The output of the artist in general greatly affects price. Prolific artists’ pieces of work tend to be less valuable than those of artists who simply produced less, all things being equal.
  • Find out if there are duplicates. Is the work one-of-a-kind? Because of supply and demand, works that are singular are worth more than replicated works. For this reason, a paintings is usually worth more than a print or a lithograph — there are simply fewer of them out on the market.
  • Pinpoint when in the artist’s career the work was completed. Was the work completed early on or toward the twilight of their career? Interestingly enough, works of art completed early in artists’ careers are usually valued higher than those completed later on.
  • Ask yourself if the work epitomizes the artist’s style. Works of art that epitomize an artist’s aesthetic are usually appraised higher than works of art that are tangential or not representative of the artist’s oeuvre.
  • Investigate whether the artist is well-known or has a reputation. Artists generally fall into three categories of renown: well-known, up-and-coming, and unknown. Artists who are well-known and have a rich history of collection can almost always command more value more than artists who are unknown.
  • Know that size matters. Generally, bigger works of art are appraised higher than smaller ones, usually because of the degree of difficulty involved.
  • Find out if the piece of art has ever been owned by someone renowned. Barring the artist themselves, works of art that were formerly owned by someone famous or well-known can command much higher prices than those pieces who don’t ha or condition issues. An item that is ripped, water-damaged, discolored, or otherwise damaged can return significantly less than an item that is in perfect shape. Note that an item that isn’t technically damaged but isn’t as vibrant as it was when first completed will qualify as having a “condition issue.”
Part 2 >Taking the Market’s Pulse
  • Investigate market demand. In short, how many people want to buy the piece of art? Art is sold in a market. This means that the value of items offered in the market fluctuates depending on how much buyers want the piece, as well as how much they are willing to pay. Ask yourself if the market is in a peak, where demand is usually high, or a trough, where demand is depressed.
  • Look at liquidity. Liquidity, also called marketability, is the reliability with which an asset or security can be sold without affecting its asking price. In the art world, high liquidity means that it’s relatively easy to sell an item quickly and thus convert its value into cash. Low liquidity means that it’s harder to do this, creating a barrier to converting an asset into cash.
  • Look at market trends. Related to demand, pricing trends are usually the result of changes in people’s perceptions of art or changes in their material circumstances.
  • Place the art in a primary or secondary market.  The primary market is what the work of art is valued at when it is first sold. The secondary market is what the work of art is valued at after it has been sold at least once. The secondary market value has a direct relation to what the item was sold for in the primary market